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 offensive players in the class and much more:
Frank Ladson, 4-star WR/6-3, 190/Miami, Fla./South Dade: The top-rated offensive recruit in Clemson’s class according to the 247Sports Composite, Ladson is ranked as the No. 7 wide receiver and No. 39 overall prospect in the country. He played in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January following a record-setting senior year at South Dade High School when he had 50 catches for 1,133 yards (22.7 per catch) and 13 touchdowns. Ladson enrolled early at Clemson in January.
Joe Ngata, 4-star WR/6-3, 205/Folsom, Calif./Folsom: Ngata is right behind Ladson as the second-highest rated offensive recruit in Clemson’s class. He checks in as the No. 9 receiver and No. 52 prospect in the country regardless of position per the 247 Composite. Like Ladson, Ngata played in the All-American Game before enrolling early last month. For his career at Folsom High School, Ngata recorded 188 receptions for 3,682 yards and 55 touchdowns, and scored at least one touchdown in 36 of his 42 career games. Ngata led Folsom to the state championship each of his final two years. In the 2018 state championship on Dec. 14, he had nine catches for 103 yards as well as a touchdown catch with under two minutes left that sent the game to overtime.
Taisun Phommachanh, 4-star QB/6-3, 195/Bridgeport, Conn./Avon Old Farms: The No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the nation according to 247, Phommachanh played prep football in Connecticut, the same region as unanimous Clemson All-American Christian Wilkins. In his career at Avon Old Farms, Phommachanh completed 339 of 556 passes (61 percent) for 5,224 yards and 46 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions. He also had 300 rushes for 1,264 yards (4.2 per carry) and 25 touchdowns, giving him 6,492 yards of total offense and 71 touchdowns. He had his best year in 2017 when he went 135-of-192 passing (70.3 percent) for 2,253 yards and 22 touchdowns against just one interception, while rushing for 633 yards and 17 more scores. Phommachanh enrolled early last month as well.
Three other impact players to watch:
Jaelyn Lay, 4-star TE/6-6, 245, Atlanta, Ga./Riverdale: One of the top five tight ends or H-backs in the nation per multiple major services, Lay is ranked as high as the No. 157 overall prospect nationally by Rivals. At 6-foot-6, Lay is tied for the tallest tight end in Clemson history. He enrolled early at Clemson in January and has a chance to make an immediate impact in the Tigers’ tight end corps.
Chez Mellusi, 4-star RB/5-11, 190/Naples, Fla./Naples: As a senior last season, Mellusi showed why he is billed as one of the country’s best running backs, rushing for 1,819 yards and 21 touchdowns while averaging 165 yards per game and 9.9 yards per rush. Mellusi had three straight 200-yard rushing games early in the season and eight games with at least 167 yards. He finished his high school career with 3,905 yards rushing and 50 touchdowns, averaging an incredible 9.3 yards per carry, and had 21 100-yard games. Mellusi is set to enroll at Clemson this summer.
Will Putnam, 4-star OL, 6-4, 295/Tampa, Fla./Plant: Putnam chose Clemson over Auburn on Dec. 19, the first day of the early signing period, and enrolled at Clemson in January. A national top-120 prospect and four-star recruit by three services, Putnam is ranked as the No. 4 offensive guard in the country according to both ESPN and 247. Clemson views him not only as a guard, but a versatile lineman capable of playing any position up front. Putnam played at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Ill., as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Plant High in Tampa. He played both ways throughout his career, and in addition to his outstanding blocking, had 63 tackles on defense as a senior with eight tackles for loss including five sacks. Putnam was also an outstanding wrestler who competed in the state heavyweight tournament as a freshman at Glenwood in 2016, and he was the Florida state champion as a heavyweight in 2018 with a 25-0 record for the season.
Joe Ngata: Clemson receivers coach Jeff Scott went all the way out to California to help the Tigers land one of the country’s best receivers in Ngata, who committed in July after visiting campus for the All In Cookout. Ngata chose Clemson over many other offers including Washington, where his brother Ariel is a rising sophomore linebacker. When Ngata enrolled at Clemson in January, he became the first Clemson signee from California to matriculate to Clemson since Bobby Forbes in 1991. He has a bright future as a member of WRU, and Clemson’s big pickup of Ngata should only help the Tigers’ recruiting efforts in California moving forward.
Brannon Spector, 3-star WR/6-1, 185/Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun): Spector sort of flies under the radar in Clemson’s 2019 class but has the chance to be a valuable contributor in Clemson’s offense – perhaps the next Hunter Renfrow. In fact, he models parts of his game after Renfrow’s and will wear the same No. 13 uniform. A two-way athlete, Spector played both receiver and safety for Calhoun High and has a knack for making big plays. As a junior, he keyed Calhoun’s state championship victory with the game-winning pick-six. Last season, Spector caught 49 passes for 719 yards and seven touchdowns while also logging 47 tackles, five tackles for loss and five interceptions on defense. Spector is a Tiger through and through – his father, Robbie, is a former Clemson receiver, while his brother, Baylon, is a rising sophomore linebacker at Clemson, and his sister is a cheerleader for the Tigers.
Breakdown of Clemson’s 2019 class by position (offense):
Quarterback: Taisun Phommachanh (4-star/6-3, 195/Bridgeport, Conn./Avon Old Farms)
*All star ratings according to the 247Sports Composite
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