With National Signing Day less than a month away, Clemson is staying busy on the recruiting front.
The dead period ended Thursday, prompting the continuation of the contact period Friday, so college coaches began hitting the recruiting trail to visit prospects. Schools are also hosting prospects for official visits this weekend and can do so the next three weekends before Feb. 7, signing day.
The Clemson Insider recaps an eventful last week in Clemson recruiting:
Clemson hosting key official visitor. Clemson is hoping to add another elite offensive tackle on signing day, and the Tigers are hosting their top remaining target at the position this weekend. As TCI reported Friday, Tampa (Fla.) Cambridge Christian four-star offensive tackle Richard Gouraige (pictured) arrived to Clemson yesterday for an official visit.
Gouraige, a top-100 national prospect, is still publicly committed to Florida. However, he started exploring other options amid Florida’s coaching change late in the season, as evidenced by his unofficial visit to Auburn in late November. The SEC’s Tigers are expected to get an official visit from Gouraige, as well.
Clemson has a history of hitting home runs with prospects during official visits; look no further than Jackson Carman last month or Travis Etienne late in the 2017 cycle. The Tigers are sure to be rolling out the red carpet for Gouraige this weekend in hopes of making a lasting final impression.
Prior to this weekend, Gouraige (6-5, 270) hadn’t visited Clemson since its elite junior day last January. He named Clemson and Florida his final two schools in mid-October before committing to the Gators shortly thereafter.
Clemson targets visiting elsewhere. Several of Clemson’s 2018 targets are at other schools this weekend on official visits.
Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage five-star cornerback Patrick Surtain is visiting LSU, while five-star cornerback teammate Tyson Campbell is at Georgia. Snellville (Ga.) Brookwood four-star wide receiver/safety Matthew Hill, an Auburn commitment, is making his official visit to Auburn. Mission Viejo (Calif.) four-star cornerback Olaijah Griffin, who received an offer from Clemson last week, is on an official visit to Southern Cal. Shelby (N.C.) four-star linebacker Dax Hollifield is officially visiting Stanford.
Hill has stated his intention to officially visit Clemson, while Griffin told TCI after the Tigers offered that he was “looking into” visiting Clemson. The Tigers are hoping to attract the other aforementioned prospects for official visits, as well.
Clemson dishes out flurry of offers. Five prospects reported scholarship offers from Clemson on Thursday. One of those was Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer four-star cornerback Taiyon Palmer, who de-committed from Duke in late November. Since then, Palmer has picked up offers from NC State, Louisville, Nebraska and Notre Dame among others. Nebraska is hosting him for an official visit this weekend.
Clemson’s other offers went out to 2019 prospects: Scottsdale (Ariz.) Notre Dame Prep four-star athlete Jake Smith, Marrero (La.) John Ehret four-star linebacker Donte Starks, Folsom (Calif.) four-star wide receiver Joseph Ngata and Virginia Beach (Va.) Bishop Sullivan Catholic four-star cornerback Sheridan Jones.
Jones, who was the nation’s top-ranked cornerback in the 2020 class per 247Sports, announced Thursday his plan to reclassify to the 2019 recruiting class. He told TCI after Clemson offered that the Tigers were his favorite team growing up. He plans to visit Clemson on Jan. 20.
** Cypress (Texas) Springs four-star safety Leon O’Neal drew visits from a couple of coaches Friday, the first day of the contact period. Oklahoma secondary coach Kerry Cooks paid him a visit, as did newly named Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko. Oklahoma and Texas A&M are in O’Neal’s top four along with Clemson and Georgia.
** Former Alabama secondary coach Derrick Ansley was hired to be the Oakland Raiders’ new secondary coach on Thursday. That is important to note, as Ansley was Alabama’s lead recruiter for Phenix City (Ala.) Central five-star wide receiver Justyn Ross. Ross, Clemson’s lone receiver target, is slated for official visits to Alabama next weekend and Auburn the following weekend. He took his official visit to Clemson in November.
** Pinson (Ala.) Valley 2019 four-star quarterback Bo Nix committed to Auburn on Wednesday. The son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix named Auburn, Clemson and Ohio State his top three schools last month.
** Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley 2019 four-star quarterback Sam Howell received an offer from Ohio State on Friday. Clemson made a big move for him last week.
** Chesapeake (Va.) 2019 four-star defensive back Cam’Ron Kelly was offered by South Carolina and Florida on Friday. Kelly, who received an offer from Clemson over the summer, visited Clemson a few times in the fall.