The defending national champs have a chance to make a splash on Wednesday as the early signing period gets underway. Clemson is a legitimate finalist for three of the country’s top 16 prospects according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Defensive end KJ Henry (No. 8), offensive tackle Jackson Carman (No. 9) and offensive tackle Cade Mays (No. 16) are each set to announce their decisions and sign with their schools of choice today.
But regardless of whether those recruits side with Clemson on Wednesday, it will be a special day for the Tigers, who expect to lock up all 12 of the current commitments in their historic 2018 recruiting class. All are expected to show that they are All In by signing with Clemson today instead of waiting until national signing day in February.
Considering the amount of talent Clemson already has in its 2018 class, any additions on Wednesday could simply be viewed as icing on Clemson’s recruiting cake. And that’s saying something as Henry, Carman and Mays are all rated as five-stars.
The Tigers are set to sign two of the nation’s top three prospects according to the 247Sports composite. Clemson five-star quarterback commit Trevor Lawrence is ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in this class, followed closely by five-star defensive end pledge Xavier Thomas who checks in at No. 3.
Dating to the beginning of the 247Sports database in 2000, only one other program has signed two of the country’s top three prospects in the same cycle. Southern Cal accomplished the feat in 2005 when it inked wide receiver Patrick Turner and quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Moreover, Lawrence and Thomas are the top-ranked prospects in the 2018 class on offense and defense, respectively. Since at least 2000, Texas (2002) and Ole Miss (2013) are the only programs to sign both the No. 1 offensive and defensive prospects.
It’s not just Thomas and Lawrence that make this Clemson class an exceptional one, though. Clemson’s class is ranked 15th in the country entering Wednesday despite its total of just 12 commitments, which is at least four fewer than every other program in the top 15.
That reflects the quality of Clemson’s class from top to bottom. Four of the Tigers’ 12 commits are ranked among the top 100 prospects nationally per the 247 composite: Lawrence, Thomas, four-star athlete Derion Kendrick (No. 42) and four-star cornerback Kyler McMichael (No. 71).
Three of the other current Clemson pledges — four-star defensive tackle Josh Belk (No. 139), four-star defensive end Justin Mascoll (No. 141) and four-star linebacker Mike Jones (No. 210) — are ranked as top-250 national recruits.
Key pieces round out Clemson’s current commitment list in offensive lineman Jordan McFadden, defensive tackle Darnell Jefferies, linebacker Jake Venables, tight end Braden Galloway and kicker BT Potter. Though not as touted as some of their peers, look for them to outperform their rankings at the next level. We watched each play this season during our Tour of Champions and believe they will make a significant impact for the Tigers in the future.
Overall, Clemson’s average player ranking per the 247 composite is a stellar 91.93 heading into Wednesday with the potential to improve. At the time of this writing, that mark was the sixth-highest in the country behind only Ohio State (94.51), Texas (93.33), Southern Cal (92.64), Alabama (92.04) and Georgia (92.01).
While the Tigers are targeting some February signees, Clemson will sign the bulk of its 2018 class on Wednesday.
And as one can see, the class will be special no matter what happens with other prospects moving forward.