Clemson welcomed three of the offensive linemen it signed as part of its 2020 recruiting class to campus in January: early enrollees Mitchell Mayes, Paul Tchio and Bryn Tucker.
The other three O-linemen the Tigers signed last cycle – Trent Howard, Walker Parks and John Williams – are all expected to enroll this summer.
The most highly touted among the trio is Parks, a consensus top-100 national prospect coming out of Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington, Ky., ranked as high as the No. 38 overall prospect in the 2020 class by Rivals.
Parks (6-5, 275), the son of former Kentucky offensive lineman David Parks, was a first-team all-state performer and 5A District Player of the Year as a senior in 2019. He notched 75 knockdown blocks and did not allow a sack in 15 games.
“Walker Parks is amazing,” Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell told The Clemson Insider earlier this year. “He’s one of those guys that he will fight a chainsaw with it running. He’s just that type. He wants to prove, and he’s a loyal guy, a pleaser. He wants to make you proud in everything he does whether it’s on the field, off the field, in the classroom. He’s just a jewel, diamond in the rough that as it started and then it unfolded, that piece of coal became a diamond. He’s got good genes. His dad played; his dad helped teach him. He’s got good coaching at the high school level. So, he’s really prepared to go compete and that’s what he loves best – competing.”
The first O-line commitment that Clemson picked up for its 2020 class came from Williams, who pledged to the Tigers on September 1, 2018.
A two-time first-team all-state offensive tackle, Williams (6-6, 300) played along the offensive line his entire career at Creekview High School in Canton, Ga., but did see some time on the defensive line in short-yardage situations.
Williams suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder midway through the 2018 season and played through the injury before undergoing surgery after the season. But after a long rehab process, Williams is 100-percent healthy again and ready to start his Clemson career.
“John Williams had an injury, so he didn’t get to go to all the combines and stuff and get his name out there,” Caldwell said. “But we had him in camp. We know what he can do. It’s like the other day, he was squatting 500 pounds, so he’s an athletic guy that can run. Can probably play inside or out. Can probably get as big as we want him to get, he has such a good frame. He’s an A student. Just comes from a great family. Can’t say enough good things. He’s probably the least known because of not getting out throughout the summer and stuff due to his injury.”
Clemson’s final commitment from an offensive lineman in the 2020 class came from Howard, a 6-foot-4, 285-pounder from Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Ala.
An original Georgia Tech commit, Howard flipped to the Tigers in early December after a spot became available in their class. His father, Johnny, was teammates with Swinney at Alabama, including during its 1992 National Championship season.
Howard is one of the most versatile offensive linemen in the Clemson freshman class who played all five positions on the line in high school.
“We were full, and then when Chandler Reeves decided that he was going to go ahead and graduate and get married and go into business, it left a spot open,” Caldwell said. “And Trent was a logical choice because he’s very talented and he’s our kind of people as far as being a great person, great student and hard worker, and got great bloodlines. He can long snap. So many things he can bring to the program … He’s as good as there is. He’s going to be a really good player for us, so I’m excited about him.”
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