In our “Recruiting Board Reset” feature, The Clemson Insider provides an update on Clemson’s recruiting board for the 2018 class and where the Tigers stand with their top targets at each position.
In this part of the series, we take a look at cornerbacks.
Clemson has nine cornerbacks on scholarship entering the 2017 season, with seven of those having returning eligibility for the 2018 season. Clemson will lose redshirt seniors Ryan Carter and Marcus Edmond following the upcoming season.
Considering the current scholarship numbers, the Tigers are expected to sign at least two defensive backs in their 2018 class, though that number could end up being three.
Clemson landed its first commitment from a defensive back in this cycle on Friday when Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian four-star Kyler McMichael committed to the Tigers over Alabama and Georgia among others. McMichael, a top-150 prospect nationally by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports, has the versatility to play cornerback, safety or nickel.
With limited available scholarships for the 2018 class, Clemson is being selective in the talent pool and shooting for stars at cornerback at this point in the cycle.
Houston (Texas) Lamar five-star Anthony Cook (pictured), a consensus top-35 overall prospect, remains one of Clemson’s top targets. Cook told TCI last May after being offered by the Tigers that former Clemson corner Mackensie Alexander was one of his favorite college players, and his abilities as a cover corner have drawn comparisons to Alexander’s.
In April, Cook released a top 10 of Baylor, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Texas. Ohio State is considered the frontrunner in his recruitment with Texas close behind, but Clemson is in his lead group along with LSU.
Cook visited Clemson for the first time last July before returning for the program’s junior day in March. The Tigers hope to attract him back for next month’s All In Cookout. Cook, who is on track to graduate in December and enroll early, could wait to announce his commitment at the Army All-American Bowl in January.
Clemson continues to pursue a pair of elite corners from American Heritage High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Five-star Patrick Surtain Jr. and four-star Tyson Campbell both attended Clemson’s junior day in January.
Campbell, a consensus top-100 overall prospect, is a hybrid defensive back who is being recruited by the Tigers as both a cornerback and safety. Clemson is in the lead pack, though Miami and Ohio State might have an edge over the Tigers as it stands now. He is expected to take his official visits before making a decision.
Surtain Jr., a consensus top-15 overall prospect, is believed to have a top group comprised of Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State, with Florida State and LSU currently perceived as the favorites. Miami is also in the conversation for Surtain Jr., who likewise is expected to take his official visits before committing.
Last month, Clemson extended an offer to Cypress (Texas) Springs three-star Taye Barber. Earlier this month, he named a top 12 of Arizona, Clemson, Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Stanford, Tennessee, TCU, Utah and West Virginia. TCU has been regarded as the leader, though offers from Tennessee and Stanford on the heels of Clemson’s offer in May have altered the complexion of his recruitment.
Barber told us he hopes to visit Clemson this summer. He wants to commit by August before his senior season, but said pushing back that timetable is a possibility.
Other names we’re tracking include Baton Rouge (La.) Scotlandville four-star Kelvin Joseph, an LSU commitment Clemson offered in April, Carrollton (Texas) Hebron four-star Verone McKinley, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard four-star Stanley Garner and Washington (D.C.) Woodson four-star Noah Boykin.
Previous editions of this series: