National Signing Day: Breaking down Clemson’s 2019 class (Defense)

National Signing Day: Breaking down Clemson’s 2019 class (Defense)

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National Signing Day: Breaking down Clemson’s 2019 class (Defense)

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The 2019 recruiting cycle officially wraps up on Wednesday with National Signing Day.

Clemson’s 2019 recruiting class is comprised of 28 players, 27 of whom signed during the early signing period in December. The class enters National Signing Day with a top-10 national ranking according to all of the major services.

In this two-part National Signing Day feature, The Clemson Insider breaks down Clemson’s 2019 class on both offense and defense. In this article we take a look at some key defensive players in the class and much more:

Headliners:

Andrew Booth, 5-star CB/6-1, 190/Dacula, Ga./Archer: Booth is the highest-rated Clemson signee on either side of the ball according to all the major recruiting services. He is ranked as high as the No. 14 overall prospect in the country by Rivals, while he is also a top-50 national prospect per ESPN (No. 34) and 247Sports (No. 42). A three-year starter and two-way standout at Archer High School, Booth had 162 career tackles, including 131 solo, with 13 interceptions, 44 passes defensed, four caused fumbles and a blocked field goal. Offensively, he recorded 22 receptions for 557 yards and four touchdowns. He also had three punt return touchdowns over his career. Booth, who played in the Under-Armour All-America Game in January, will enroll at Clemson this summer.

Bryton Constantin, 4-star LB/6-3, 210/Baton Rouge, La./University Lab: Two years after Travis Etienne became the first Clemson signee from Louisiana since Nick Watkins in 2003, the Tigers dipped back into the Bayou State this cycle to land Constantin. Clemson was one of the first major programs to offer Constantin, a unanimous four-star recruit and top-150 national prospect per ESPN. The No. 5 inside linebacker in the country, Constantin helped University Lab High School to state championships in 2017 and 2018. He recorded 104 tackles, including 23 for loss and six sacks, two caused fumbles and a pick-six in 2017 en route to 3A all-state honors. Constantin played in the World Bowl in Mexico on Dec. 22, then competed in the Under Armour All-America Game in January. Constantin’s father, Tony Harris, played in the NBA with the 76ers and Celtics. Constantin will enroll at Clemson this summer.

Bryton Constantin

Tyler Davis, 4-star DT/6-1, 295/Apopka, Fla./Wekiva: Clemson addressed a big need for its 2019 class when it landed Davis on Dec. 19, the first day of the early signing period. Davis, ranked as the No. 58 overall prospect in the country by ESPN, chose the Tigers over Florida State. Davis enrolled at Clemson in January and will have a chance to make an immediate impact after the Tiger lost three defensive tackles from last season (Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Albert Huggins). As a senior, Davis posted 34 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, six sacks and an interception while helping Wekiva High School to an 11-2 record and top-10 ranking in the state of Florida.

Sheridan Jones, 4-star CB/6-1, 175/Norfolk, Va./Maury: The former top-ranked cornerback prospect in the 2020 recruiting class, Jones reclassified to the 2019 class in January 2018 and received an offer from Clemson shortly after. He then committed to the Tigers in April over offers from Alabama, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and others. A top-100 national prospect per Rivals, Jones played with Constantin in the World Bowl in Mexico as well as the Under Armour All-America Game. Jones enrolled early in January.

Three other impact players to watch:

LaVonta Bentley, 4-star LB/6-0, 220/Birmingham, Ala./Jackson-Olin: Area recruiter Todd Bates and the Tigers made Bentley a priority after offering him in January 2018, and he committed to Clemson while on campus for the All In Cookout in July. A stout, physical linebacker, Bentley had a strong senior year with 118 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and four passes broken up, and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in Birmingham. Bentley is set to enroll at Clemson this summer.

Joseph Charleston, 4-star S/6-2, 190/ Milton, Ga./Milton: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Charleston, who became the first member of Clemson’s 2019 signing class when he committed on Oct. 10, 2017. Charleston — a top-10 safety and national top-150 player according to 247 — had a team-best 83 tackles, nine tackles for loss, two caused fumbles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions as a senior as he helped lead Milton High School to its first ever state championship. Charleston also enrolled at Clemson in January.

Joseph Charleston

Kane Patterson, 4-star LB/6-1, 210/Brentwood, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian Academy: A former Ohio State commitment, Patterson de-committed from the Buckeyes in August before flipping to Clemson a month later. A national top-300 player by three services, Patterson was a standout two-way player for Christ Presbyterian Academy. He had 258 career tackles, including 38.5 tackles for loss, 13 of which were sacks. As a senior, Patterson led his team to a state championship while tallying 59 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and four sacks defensively to go with 647 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns on offense. He was MVP of the state championship game, in which he had 13 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns along with seven tackles on defense. A day later, Patterson found out that he was invited to the All-American Bowl in San Antonio. He will enroll at Clemson this summer.

Big catch:

Andrew Booth: Clemson beat out Auburn to land Booth in what was a highly contested recruitment. A top-50 national prospect according to all the major services, Booth committed to Clemson in July following his visit for the All In Cookout. Ranked as the No. 23 overall prospect in the country, Booth is the Tigers’ highest-ranked cornerback acquisition ever according to the 247Sports Composite, ahead of Mackenzie Alexander (No. 30 overall in 2013).

Andrew Booth

Sleepers:

Lannden Zanders, 3-star S/6-1, 190/Shelby, N.C./Crest: Zanders is vastly underrated and his recruiting rankings don’t do him justice. A quick and physical player with good ball skills, Zanders played both ways for Crest High School at safety and wide receiver. In his final two seasons, Zanders totaled 105 tackles and 11 interceptions, including two that he returned for touchdowns as a senior. As a receiver, he racked up nearly 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns for his career. Zanders, who enrolled early last month, comes to Clemson from the same school that produced Tigers linebacker Justin Foster as well as former ACC basketball great David Thompson and former NFL linebacker Brandon Spikes.

Ruke Orhorhoro, 3-star DL, 6-4, 270/Lagos, Nigeria/River Rouge (Mich.): Born in Nigeria, Orhorhoro came to the United States when he was nine years old and did not play his first football game until the fall of 2017 when he was a junior in high school. He played basketball during his youth and in high school, and averaged a double-double as a sophomore. The week after his sophomore season of basketball ended in the state semifinals, Orhorhoro met with the school’s football coaches and decided to join the team for spring practice. He caught the attention of college coaches as a junior and had collected close to 25 scholarship offers by the beginning of his senior season. He committed to Clemson before his senior season, when he had 13 sacks and 22 tackles for loss to go with 60 tackles. He also had a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. Orhorhoro is still a raw talent and his upside is evident. He enrolled at Clemson in January, so he will be able to go though spring practice, and he should only continue to develop under the coaching staff. The first Clemson signee from the state of Michigan since Joe Carolan in 1975, Orhorhoro has three cousins who played or are still playing college football: Mario Ojemudia (Michigan), Michael Ojemudia (Iowa) and Ovie Oghoufo (Notre Dame).

Breakdown of Clemson’s 2019 class by position (defense):

Defensive Line: Logan Cash (3-star/6-3, 270/Winder, Ga./Winder-Barrow); Tyler Davis (4-star/6-1, 295/Apopka, Fla./Wekiva); Tayquon Johnson (3-star/6-2, 295/Williamsport, Md./Williamsport); Ruke Orhorhoro (3-star/6-4, 270/Lagos, Nigeria/River Rouge (Mich.)); Etinosa Reuben (3-star/6-3, 275/Kansas City, Mo./Park Hill South)

Linebacker: LaVonta Bentley (4-star/6-0, 220/Birmingham, Ala./Jackson-Olin); Bryton Constantin (4-star/6-3, 210/Baton Rouge, La./University Lab); Keith Maguire (3-star/6-2, 210/Media, Penn./Malvern Prep); Kane Patterson (4-star/6-1, 210/Brentwood, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian Academy); Greg Williams (3-star/6-3, 235/Swansea, S.C./Swansea)

Cornerback: Andrew Booth (5-star/6-1, 190/Dacula, Ga./Archer); Sheridan Jones (4-star/6-1, 175/Norfolk, Va./Maury)

Safety: Joseph Charleston (4-star/6-2, 190/ Milton, Ga./Milton); Jalyn Phillips (3-star/6-0, 200/Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer); Ray Thornton (3-star/6-2, 200/Columbus,Ga./Central (Ala.)); Lannden Zanders (3-star/6-1, 190/Shelby, N.C./Crest)

Punter: Aidan Swanson (3-star/6-3, 165/Tampa, Fla./IMG Academy)

*All star ratings according to the 247Sports Composite

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