Clemson has long established a strong recruiting footprint in the state of North Carolina. The Tigers have signed more than two dozen prospects from the Tar Heel State during Dabo Swinney’s tenure as head coach, including at least one in each of Swinney’s 10 signing classes to date.
The long list of Clemson players from North Carolina includes standouts such as Stephone Anthony (2011), Carlos Watkins (2012), D.J. Reader (2012), Tyrone Crowder (2013), Van Smith (2015), Dexter Lawrence (2016), K.J. Henry (2018) and many others.
Clemson is again targeting a number of prospects from North Carolina in the 2019 class. Here are five prospects to keep a close eye on in the 2019 recruiting cycle:
Sam Howell, QB, Monroe, N.C. (Sun Valley):
Howell has hauled in a flood of offers in January, including ones from Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska and Virginia Tech. Clemson was first among the aforementioned schools to offer Howell when it pulled the trigger on Jan. 4. Howell returned to Clemson for its elite junior day on Jan. 20 after attending the Auburn and Florida State games last season. The four-star and top-five pro-style quarterback for 2019 was one of the most impressive performers at the Swinney Camp last June. Howell told TCI after the junior day visit that Clemson will be one of his favorites until the end. “Clemson will always be in the top group of schools throughout my recruiting process,” he said.
As a junior last season, Howell threw for 36 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards.
Quavaris Crouch, ATH, Charlotte, N.C. (Harding):
Crouch is ranked as a five-star and consensus top-100 prospect in the 2019 class regardless of position. Some programs view Crouch as a running back while others see him as a future linebacker. Clemson is just trying to get him on board and will worry about his position down the road if he chooses to play there. The Tigers are in the thick of things early on in his recruitment along with Michigan, Alabama, South Carolina and others. Crouch most recently visited Clemson for its elite junior day two weekends ago.
In 2017, Crouch rushed for 3,142 yards while recording 40-plus tackles and 14 sacks on defense.
Drake Thomas, LB, Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage):
A physical, smart and instinctive player, Thomas fits the mold of linebacker that Brent Venables loves to recruit. Clemson formally offered Thomas in August, and he visited for the Florida State game last season before returning to campus for the elite junior day. Besides Clemson, Thomas owns offers from NC State, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia Tech and West Virginia among others. While he has yet to formulate a list of favorites, Thomas said Clemson is one of them. “I don’t have an exact list, but they’re definitely up high for me,” he told TCI after the junior day visit.
Last season, Thomas totaled 112 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Jaylon Scott, LB, Shelby, N.C. (Shelby):
Like all of the aforementioned prospects, Scott attended Clemson’s elite junior day this month. Scott also visited Clemson in mid-December just four days after receiving an offer from the Tigers. North Carolina, NC State, Duke and Maryland have extended offers to Scott as well. He has also visited both NC State and North Carolina recently. Clemson sits well with Scott in the early going of his recruitment.
Scott finished his junior season with 85 tackles, including 20 for loss and five sacks.
Tyus Fields, CB, Cornelius, N.C. (Hough):
Fields, the younger brother of Clemson cornerback Mark Fields, has visited Clemson numerous times since picking up his first verbal offer from the Tigers in May 2016. Since then, the four-star has added offers from NC State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and others. Fields has consistently cited Clemson as one of his top schools since it offered. He is ranked as a top-six prospect in North Carolina for 2019 by all of the major recruiting services.
As a junior last season, Fields logged 92 tackles, four tackles for loss and two interceptions.
J.R. Walker, ATH, Elizabeth City, N.C. (Northeastern)
Anthony Harris, S, Havelock, N.C. (Havelock)
Zovon Lindsay, DT, Fayetteville, N.C. (Trinity Christian)
Savion Jackson, DE, Clayton, N.C. (Clayton)
Damarcus Mills, OL, Mooresville, N.C. (Mooresville)
Traevon Kenion, WR, Monroe, N.C. (Monroe)
Jaden McKenzie, Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest)