Clemson has established a strong recruiting presence in the state of Florida under Dabo Swinney. The Tigers have signed well over two dozen prospects from the Sunshine State since Swinney took over as Clemson’s coach in 2009, including stars such as Sammy Watkins, Mackensie Alexander, Jayron Kearse, Jordan Leggett, Artavis Scott, Deon Cain, Ray-Ray McCloud and Trayvon Mullen, to name some.
Clemson’s 2019 signing class includes seven players from Florida — Kaleb Boateng, Tyler Davis, Frank Ladson, Chez Mellusi, Will Putnam, Hunter Rayburn and Aidan Swanson — the most representatives from the Sunshine State since 2008 when a school-record nine Floridians came to Clemson.
Once again, the Tigers have their eye on a number of prospects from Florida in the 2020 cycle. Here are some of the top prospects to watch as it relates to Clemson:
Demarkcus Bowman, 5-star RB, Lakeland High (Lakeland, Fla.):
Bowman attended Clemson’s elite junior day in late January and picked up an offer from the Tigers while on campus. After receiving the offer, Bowman told TCI that it was one he had “always wanted.” Florida has been considered the frontrunner for Bowman, but Clemson is a legitimate contender, while schools such as Georgia and Ohio State are in the conversation as well. Bowman hopes to commit prior to the start of his senior season. He is the No. 6 running back and No. 32 overall prospect in the 2020 class according to the 247Sports Composite.
Jaylan Knighton, 4-star RB, Deerfield Beach High (Deerfield Beach, Fla.):
Bowman wasn’t the only big-time running back prospect on campus for Clemson’s elite junior day last month. Knighton was there as well, and as was the case with Bowman, he left campus with an offer from the Tigers. A top-100 national prospect in the 2020 class, Knighton had been committed to Oklahoma since last April but decided to re-open his recruitment in January. He named Clemson his leader following the visit and is eyeing a preseason commitment decision, with schools such as Florida State, Penn State, Miami and Alabama vying for his services as well.
Henry Gray, 4-star CB, Miami Central High (Miami, Fla.):
Like Knighton and Bowman, Gray visited Clemson for the January elite junior day. And like Knighton, Gray named Clemson his top school after the visit. Ohio State is running No. 2 right now for Gray, who de-committed from Miami in December. The nation’s No. 4 cornerback per the 247Sports Composite is also considering schools such as Georgia, Florida State, Florida, Oklahoma and Penn State. Gray is still a ways away from making his decision.
Jalen Harrell, 4-star CB, Miami Central High (Miami, Fla.):
Harrell, who is teammates with Gray at Miami Central, received an offer from Clemson in December. He has seen his recruitment take off since then, with offers subsequently coming in from Florida State, Miami, Penn State and Tennessee among others. Harrell told TCI recently that the Tigers were “at the top” of his list, and that he’s planning to visit Clemson for the spring game April 6. He most recently visited Miami at the beginning of this month.
Fred Davis, 5-star CB, Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.):
Davis is a five-star prospect ranked among the top five cornerbacks in the country for 2020. He picked up an offer from Clemson in December before making his way to campus for last month’s elite junior day. This recruitment is far from being decided, with Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama, Florida State, Florida and Miami some of the schools in the mix.
Other names to know: Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep LB Jaylen Harrell, Miami (Fla.) Columbus WR Xzavier Henderson, Winter Park (Fla.) ATH Ethan Pouncey, Sebastian (Fla.) River DT Timothy Smith
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