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’ running back recruiting.
Clemson enters the 2018 season with five running backs on scholarship: sophomore Travis Etienne, junior Tavien Feaster, senior Adam Choice, true freshman Lyn-J Dixon and redshirt junior Ty Thomason.
Choice is in his final year at Clemson, and it isn’t out of the question that Feaster could turn pro after the upcoming season.
Therefore, we think the Tigers could opt to take a second running back in the 2019 class. Clemson currently has one verbal commitment from a running back in Naples (Fla.) four-star Chez Mellusi.
The top target on the board at running back right now is Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star Noah Cain.
A top-five running back in the 2019 class according to multiple major recruiting services, Cain collected an offer from Clemson last fall while on campus for the Georgia Tech game. The Denton, Texas, native has earned over 30 total offers, including ones from Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Penn State and Texas. He intends to announce his college decision in December.
Cain returned to Clemson for another unofficial visit on June 16 and told TCI afterward that the visit helped the Tigers’ chances with him. He has built a strong relationship with Clemson running backs coach Tony Elliott, and he is friends with Clemson’s Xavier Thomas and Mike Jones, both of whom he played with at IMG Academy.
Clemson has also offered a couple of running backs currently committed elsewhere: Baton Rouge (La.) Southern Lab four-star Tyrion Davis and Jackson (Miss.) Prep four-star Jerrion Ealy.
Davis, an LSU pledge, picked up an offer from Clemson in May. He claims to be solid with LSU, though he has continued to visit other schools since committing in June 2017. Davis was quoted recently as saying that Georgia has the best chance to flip him. Clemson has a shot to get one of his official visits.
Ealy, an Ole Miss commit, visited Clemson for the spring game in April and left campus with an offer. He is a touted baseball prospect, too, and committed to play that sport for the Rebels as well. Ealy has the potential to turn pro in baseball after high school.
One of the other running backs we’re tracking is Charleston (S.C.) First Baptist Church School’s Michel Dukes. He holds power conference offers from Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Dukes camped at Clemson last summer, visited for the Auburn game last season and has drawn multiple evaluation visits from Elliott. He ran for 2,100 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior in 2017.
Looking ahead, Clemson has yet to offer a running back in the 2020 class.
Some of the names we’re keeping an eye on are Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes’ Rahjai Harris; Deerfield Beach (Fla.)’s Jaylan Knighton, an Oklahoma commit; Lakeland (Fla.)’s Demarkcus Bowman; Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern’s Jordon Simmons; and Hueytown (Ala.)’s Roydell Williams.
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