After signing the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2020, per ESPN, Clemson is putting together a 2021 class that looks like it will be special as well. There is a long way to go before the cycle is over, but the Tigers currently own the No. 2 class in the country according to the 247Sports Composite, and they have a lot more upper-echelon talent in their crosshairs.
In our Looking Ahead series, The Clemson Insider takes a position-by-position look at the top targets on the Tigers’ board for the 2021 class. In this article, we focus on safeties:
After signing a couple of safeties in the 2020 class, Clemson is looking to take one or two more players at the position in the current cycle. So far, the Tigers have one commitment from a defensive back in their 2021 class, Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett four-star cornerback Jordan Hancock.
One of the safeties at the top of Clemson’s board is Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway four-star Derrick Davis, a top-50 national prospect (No. 44 overall) per the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Davis visited Clemson last June after receiving an offer from the Tigers in May. He was planning to return to campus in early April but will have to reschedule the trip as the NCAA suspended all in-person recruiting until at least April 15 due to the coronavirus.
Along with Clemson, Ohio State and Penn State are a couple of the other top contenders for Davis, who has said that he wanted to take official visits before making a decision later in the cycle.
Another safety high on Clemson’s wish list is Miami (Fla.) Palmetto’s Corey Collier, a five-star prospect according to Rivals.
Collier has an official top 10 of Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State and Syracuse. Of that group, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and LSU are probably most legitimately in the mix. Collier, an FSU legacy, visited Clemson last summer and told TCI in multiple interviews afterward that the Tigers were his leader.
Another five-star the Tigers have been involved with is Opa Locka (Fla.) Western’s James Williams, the No. 1 safety in the 2021 class per 247Sports and the 247Sports Composite.
In mid-February, Williams named Alabama, Clemson and Georgia his top three schools. However, the Bulldogs are the perceived heavy favorite, and many believe it’s only a matter of time before they land him. The Tigers should not be discounted but appear to be a long shot at this point.
Clemson has also been recruiting College Park (Ga.) Woodward Academy four-star safety Khari Gee as a priority since offering him on Jan. 23, and he visited campus just two days later to attend the program’s elite junior day.
In late February, Gee released a top 10 that included Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State and Southern Cal. But Gee told TCI recently that Clemson is in his top three with LSU and Oregon.
One prospect that visited Clemson for its most recent junior day on March 7 is Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby safety De’Shawn Rucker, who is rated as a four-star by ESPN.
Rucker received an offer from Clemson in February and remains in regular contact with members of the coaching staff. He also visited Florida State in early March and had planned to visit Florida before the NCAA instituted the dead period in response to COVID-19.
Besides Clemson, Rucker’s offer list features schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee. He was hoping to commit before his senior season but is now uncertain whether he will be able to render a decision by then due to recruiting being suspended for who knows how long.
Some of the other safety prospects in the 2021 class that we’re tracking are Beggs (Okla.) four-star Kendal Daniels, Austin (Texas) LBJ four-star Andrew Mukuba, Lafayette (La.) Christian Academy four-star Sage Ryan and Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany four-star Jaylin Smith.
Clemson offered Smith in February before extending offers to Daniels and Mukuba earlier this month. Ryan, meanwhile, included Clemson in a top 10 he released last week but is considered an LSU lean.
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