A year after beating out Nick Saban to land the state of Alabama’s top prospect in five-star wide receiver Justyn Ross, Dabo Swinney and Clemson dipped back into the Yellowhammer State last cycle, signing four-star linebacker LaVonta Bentley and three-star safety Ray Thornton as part of the 2019 class.
The Tigers are recruiting a number of prospects from Alabama again in the 2020 cycle. Here are some of the top names to watch from the state as it pertains to Clemson:
E.J. Williams, 4-star WR, Central (Phenix City, Ala.):
Williams is a former teammate of both Ross and Thornton. The Central High School standout is ranked as high as the No. 4 prospect from Alabama, No. 19 wide receiver and No. 102 overall prospect in the 2020 class per ESPN. Clemson extended an offer to the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder last summer following his strong performance at the Dabo Swinney Camp. The Tigers have played host to him several times since then, most recently for their elite junior day in January. Williams told The Clemson Insider afterward that it was the best Clemson visit he has been on thus far.
At the beginning of February, Williams trimmed down his offer list when he announced a top 12 of Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M, Oregon, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Arkansas. Williams is coming off a visit to Alabama this past weekend and the Tide made a strong impression. Auburn is squarely in the mix as well, but Clemson looks like the team to beat as things stand now thanks in part to his relationships with Ross, Thornton and the coaching staff.
J.J. Evans, 4-star WR, Montevallo (Montevallo, Ala.):
Evans (6-3, 185) saw his recruitment blow up during his breakout junior season in 2018, when he amassed over 1,700 yards receiving and 18 touchdown receptions. Clemson offered him in November, while Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia and Tennessee are among the other schools that offered during the season. Evans had planned to attend Clemson’s elite junior day last month but said he was unable to find a ride. His recruiting process is just starting to get ramped up, but Evans told TCI recently that Clemson was one of his early favorites. Rivals ranks Evans as the No. 7 prospect from Alabama and No. 176 overall prospect nationally.
Brady Ward, 3-star OL, St. Paul’s Episcopal (Mobile, Ala.):
Ward visited Clemson for the Syracuse game at Death Valley last season and told TCI recently that he was planning to return to campus for the program’s next junior day March 9. The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Ward is the son of former LSU offensive lineman Brian Ward. The younger Ward has collected offers from LSU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee among others. He is slated to visit Arkansas today.
Other names to keep an eye on: Lanett (Ala.) S Kristian Story; Attalla (Ala.) Etowah ATH De’Rickey Wright; Bay Minette (Ala.) Baldwin County DE Albany Casey; Hoover (Ala.) QB Robby Ashford; Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul’s RB Jordon Ingram; Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville OL Logan Self; Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville DT Eric Taylor
Other related TCI articles:
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