Clemson inked 15 players during the early signing period last month, thus locking up the majority of its 2018 recruiting class.
However, with National Signing Day just a few weeks away, the Tigers still have some needs to address and continue to recruit a select group of targets.
In this article, The Clemson Insider takes a position-by-position look at Clemson’s top remaining targets on the defensive side of the ball heading into the home stretch of the recruiting cycle:
Signed: 5 (5-star DE Xavier Thomas, 5-star DE KJ Henry, 4-star DE Justin Mascoll, 4-star DT Josh Belk, 4-star DT Darnell Jefferies)
Clemson is done recruiting defensive linemen in the current cycle, having met its quota for the 2018 class. The Tigers’ D-line haul is outstanding: Thomas and Henry are both ranked as top-five players nationally per ESPN, while Mascoll is ranked among the top 50 and Belk the top 100.
Signed: 2 (4-star Mike Jones, 4-star Jake Venables)
Targets: 1 (4-star Dax Hollifield)
Clemson doesn’t necessarily need to add another linebacker in the 2018 class. However, with four linebackers set to come off the books at the end of the 2018 season (Kendall Joseph, Jalen Williams, J.D. Davis, Judah Davis), the Tigers have kept the door open to potentially take one more backer in this cycle.
The lone remaining target at the position is Shelby (N.C.) four-star Dax Hollifield. The Tigers have tried to make a late push for his services and were trying to get him on campus for an unofficial visit. Hollifield has taken official visits to Florida State, North Carolina, Stanford, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. He is coming off of an official visit to Stanford last weekend, and the Cardinal is believed to be the leader. Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Clemson remain in the conversation. The Tigers will have to get him in on a visit to have a chance of landing him.
Signed: 1 (4-star Kyler McMichael)
Targets: 3 (5-star Patrick Surtain, 4-star Taiyon Palmer, 4-star Olaijah Griffin)
Surtain, the nation’s top-ranked cornerback, made an official visit to LSU last weekend and is slated to visit Alabama this weekend. Clemson is trying to get an official visit before signing day.
Palmer, who de-committed from Duke in November, has seen his stock soar ahead of signing day. So far this month, he has collected offers from Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Clemson among others. Palmer is set to use his third official visit on NC State this weekend. He went to Vanderbilt in December and Nebraska last weekend. Clemson and Notre Dame are a couple of the other schools vying to get one of his final official visits.
Clemson took a flier on Griffin in early January, giving him an offer to gauge his interest level. The Tigers don’t appear likely to get an official visit from the California native as things stand right now.
Targets: 2 (4-star Matthew Hill, 4-star Leon O’Neal)
Hill (pictured), an Auburn commitment, went to Auburn for his official visit last weekend. Clemson is expected to get an official visit from him, as well. Despite being committed to the SEC’s Tigers, Hill made unofficial visits to Clemson for the Wake Forest and The Citadel games last season. Auburn is recruiting him as a receiver, while Clemson views him as a safety.
O’Neal named Clemson one of his top four schools in December along with Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The former Aggies commit has taken official visits to A&M and Oklahoma. O’Neal has said that he was planning to officially visit Clemson. He unofficially visited Clemson for the spring game last April.