5-star notebook: Clemson targets at The Opening Atlanta regional

5-star notebook: Clemson targets at The Opening Atlanta regional

Recruiting

5-star notebook: Clemson targets at The Opening Atlanta regional

BUFORD, Ga. — Nike’s regional camp tour, called The Opening, continued on Sunday in the Atlanta metro area. A slew of Clemson targets competed in the camp, which took place at Buford High School in Buford, Ga.

The Clemson Insider was on hand for all of the action and spoke with numerous prospects at the camp. Here are some news and notes:

Clemson still in it for 5-star Georgia commit. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star defensive end Nolan Smith has been committed to Georgia since January 2017. But of course, his pledge hasn’t stopped other programs from continuing to pursue him.

Clemson is among the schools still recruiting Smith, who is ranked as high as the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2019 class by both ESPN and 247Sports. Smith said at The Opening that he hears from Clemson “a good bit,” specifically naming defensive coordinator Brent Venables, defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall and defensive tackles coach Todd Bates as those he communicates with. He added that Venables is his most consistent recruiter of the trio.

According to Smith, the Tigers are still in the mix for his services.

“They’re still in it,” he said. “There’s some reason that I just can’t stop thinking about Clemson.”

Smith is a former teammate of five-star defensive end Xavier Thomas and four-star linebacker Mike Jones. Of course, Thomas and Jones attended IMG Academy before enrolling at Clemson in January.

As for Smith’s commitment to Georgia, he says he remains solid but is keeping his options open.

“It’s pretty strong,” he said, “but I have to stay open because you never know what’ll happen.”

Smith, who was named the Defensive Line MVP of The Opening Atlanta regional, mentioned Alabama as another school he is considering along with Clemson.

Tigers major player for 5-star OL. Oxford (Ala.) five-star Clay Webb is unanimously ranked as the No. 1 center in the 2019 class. He owns offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Tennessee, among others.

Clemson offered Webb last summer following his performance at the Dabo Swinney Camp in June. Asked where the Tigers stand right now, Webb said they are high on his list.

Webb cited his strong relationship with offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell and area recruiter Todd Bates as one of the reasons he is high on Clemson.

Clemson hard after 5-star LB. Horn Lake (Miss.) five-star linebacker Nakobe Dean has a lengthy list of college suitors.

Clemson offered Dean on Feb. 22, and he said at The Opening that he texts with Venables “every other day.” Venables is pushing him to make a visit to Clemson.

Dean said he plans to visit a number of schools this summer, including Clemson. On March 7, Dean announced a list of his top 15 schools that includes Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Stanford and Texas A&M.

Clemson leads for Alabama LB. Birmingham (Ala.) Jackson-Olin four-star linebacker Lavonta Bentley named Clemson his leader at The Opening, saying the Tigers are “number one” on his list of over a dozen offers.

Bentley also said that Bates, his area recruiter, is recruiting him harder than anybody right now.

Clemson got Bentley on campus for its junior day on March 3 after offering him in late January.

Quick hitters.

*** Buford (Ga.) four-star offensive lineman Harry Miller, one of Clemson’s priority targets, was named the Offensive Line MVP of The Opening Atlanta regional.

Miller, who most recently visited Clemson for its elite junior day in January, said he plans to return for another visit in May. Miller named Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford his top five schools in February.

*** Savannah (Ga.) Islands four-star linebacker Kalen Deloach said he should be able to make it to Clemson’s spring game on April 14. Deloach attended the Tigers’ elite junior day four days after receiving an offer from Clemson on Jan. 16.

*** Clemson priority offensive guard target Keiondre Jones said he hopeszs to commit before the start of his senior year. The four-star from Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway attended Clemson’s January elite junior day as well.

*** Loganville (Ga.) Grayson four-star defensive end Kevin Harris named Alabama, LSU and Miami his top three schools this past Tuesday via Twitter.

While Clemson did not make the short list, Harris said it’s too early to count the Tigers out in his recruitment.

“Stay tuned,” he said. “Stuff happens.”

Harris visited Clemson for both its elite junior day in January and the junior day in March. He received an offer from Clemson last November and attended the Boston College and Florida State games last season.

Stay tuned to TCI as we will have much, much more on the aforementioned prospects and others that competed in The Opening Atlanta regional.

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