In our “Looking Ahead” feature, The Clemson Insider takes a position-by-position look at where Clemson stands with targets in the 2019 class and beyond.
In this article, we look ahead at the Tigers’ offensive line recruiting.
Looking ahead, twelve of Clemson’s current scholarship offensive linemen will be eligible to return come the 2019 season. But five of those will be seniors in 2019: Gage Cervenka, Zach Giella, John Simpson, Sean Pollard and Tremayne Anchrum.
In other words, the Tigers will have a lot to replace on the offensive front moving forward, making their O-line recruiting in this cycle and the next even more crucial.
As it stands now, we expect Clemson to take three or four offensive linemen in the 2019 class. The Tigers currently hold one commitment from a 2019 O-lineman in Pensacola (Fla.)’s Hunter Rayburn.
Clemson continues to pursue a pair of elite offensive line prospects in Oxford (Ala.) five-star Clay Webb and Huntington (W.Va.) five-star Darnell Wright. Webb is unanimously ranked as the No. 1 center in the 2019 class by the major recruiting services, while Wright is considered the nation’s No. 1 tackle by Rivals.
It’s reasonable to presume that Webb will ultimately wind up picking in-state powerhouse Alabama, and that is widely the outside expectation. But Clemson has stayed in the mix since offering him last summer, having gotten him on campus during the Dabo Swinney Camp in consecutive summers. Auburn and Georgia are foremost among a few other schools in the picture for Webb, who has said that he will make his decision in December.
Wright, meanwhile, appears to be more of a long shot as of now. Schools such as Tennessee, Alabama and Ohio State have been mentioned the most in his recruitment. He has expressed his desire to check out Clemson and some other schools before he commits, but whether he makes it to Tiger Town remains to be seen. Clemson will need to get a visit to have a chance.
One priority O-line target Clemson hopes to get on campus for the All In Cookout late this month is Nokesville (Va.) Patriot four-star offensive lineman Jakai Moore. Clemson offered him in May, and he told TCI recently that he may attend the cookout. Moore named a top seven of Clemson, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Ohio State, Miami, North Carolina and South Carolina late last month.
Clemson is also in the top group of contenders for Crystal Lake (Ill.) South four-star offensive tackle Trevor Keegan, who announced a top six of Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State last month. Keegan, the unanimous No. 1 prospect in Illinois for 2019, picked up an offer from Clemson during a visit to campus on June 2. Michigan is regarded as the frontrunner right now followed by Ohio State.
The Tigers are in strong shape with Hanahan (S.C.)’s Cooper Dawson, who received an offer from Clemson, his childhood dream school, following the first session of the Dabo Swinney Camp in June. He was offered by Clemson as an offensive tackle, while most of his other suitors are recruiting him as either a defensive end or tight end. D-end is his preferred position, so he will have to decide whether he wants to play on the offensive line at Clemson or the defensive side of the ball at a smaller school.
Dawson recently made an unofficial visit to Central Florida. He was invited to the All In Cookout on July 27, but told us recently he was unsure if he would be able to attend, as he was planning to visit Army, Navy and some Ivy League schools as part of a Northeastern swing toward the end of July.
One offensive lineman garnering strong interest from Clemson is Strongsville (Ohio) guard J.D. Duplain. Indiana, Boston College and Michigan State comprise his top three, and he intends to make a decision before the start of his senior season, if not by the end of this month. If Clemson pulls the trigger on an offer, it would figure to change the complexion of his recruitment.
Another name to know is Honea Path (S.C.) Belton-Honea Path’s Avery Reece, who added a grayshirt offer from Clemson after competing at the Swinney Camp last month. He plays tight end for BHP but was offered by the Tigers as an offensive lineman, the position he worked out with during the camp. Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and Alabama State have also offered.
Other offensive linemen in the 2019 class we’re keeping an eye on include but aren’t limited to Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman’s Mason Trotter, Chatsworth (Ga.) North Murray’s Luke Griffin, Moncks Corner (S.C.) Berkeley’s Kamren McCray, Tampa (Fla.) Plant’s Will Putnam and Daleville (Va.) Lord Botetourt’s Jesse Hanson, a Virginia Tech commitment.
Clemson has already started to lay a good foundation with several standout O-linemen in the 2020 class, such as Orange Park (Fla.) Oakleaf four-star tackle Jalen Rivers, Lawrence (Kan.) Free State four-star tackle Turner Corcoran, Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass three-star tackle Walker Parks and Milton (Ga.) four-star Paul Tchio.
Some of the other 2020 O-linemen we’re tracking are Memphis (Tenn.) Briarcrest Christian four-star Omari Thomas, Oak Park (Mich.) five-star Justin Rogers, Milton (Mass.) four-star Kevin Pyne, Raleigh (N.C.) Sanderson four-star Mitchell Mayes, Canton (Ga.) Creekview three-star John Williams, Roswell (Ga.) three-star tackle Trey Zimmerman and Imperial (Mo.) Seckman Senior three-star tackle Jake Seidel.
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!