Breaking down Patterson's commitment to Clemson

Breaking down Patterson's commitment to Clemson


Breaking down Patterson's commitment to Clemson


Clemson picked up its third commitment in the span of a week when Zaire Patterson gave his verbal pledge to the Tigers on Tuesday.

In this feature, The Clemson Insider gives an in-depth breakdown on the newest addition to Clemson’s class:

Zaire Patterson Profile:

Position: DE

Hometown (High School): Winston-Salem, N.C. (Winston-Salem Prep)

Height, Weight: 6-6, 225

Power Five Offers: Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Colorado, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan State, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia

Ratings/Rankings: 4-star, No. 8 WDE, No. 6 N.C., No. 99 national (247Sports); 4-star, No. 29 DE, No. 18 state, No. 266 national (ESPN); 3-star, No. 33 WDE, No. 29 N.C., NR national (Rivals)

How Clemson got him:

Clemson extended an offer to Patterson in January after attracting him to campus in November for the Wake Forest game, which marks his only visit there to date.

Shortly after pulling the trigger on the offer, the Tigers picked up commitments from a pair of defensive ends during their elite junior day weekend in four-star Cade Denhoff and five-star Korey Foreman. At that point, it looked like Clemson would not have a spot for Patterson as Dabo Swinney and company have planned to take only two ends in the 2021 class.

But once Foreman decommitted in late April, a spot opened back up, and the Tigers locked in on Patterson as the prospect they wanted to fill it. So they put the full-court press on him, and it paid off when he jumped on board Tuesday.

South Carolina was the runner-up for Patterson, while North Carolina and Alabama were squarely in the mix as well.

What Clemson is getting:

The first thing that stands out about Patterson is his height (6-6) and length. At 225 pounds right now, he will need to get bigger but should have no problem putting on the right kind of weight and has a frame that should easily fill out. He will certainly benefit from Clemson’s strength and conditioning program after he arrives on campus.

When watching Patterson play, it is easy to see why he was coveted by a lot of big-time programs. He is extremely athletic and can get to the quarterback in a hurry. Fast and explosive off the edge, Patterson not only uses his speed to notch sacks but is also very flexible, which allows him to bend around an offensive tackle when he needs to in order to get to the quarterback. Patterson has all the physical tools to be an impact defensive end for the Tigers, and he plays with a lot of energy to boot.

Patterson has the ability to be a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Clemson is getting a top-notch talent and a guy with a lot of upside and a high ceiling.

What his commitment means:

The Tigers have planned to take only two defensive ends in the 2021 class, so they look to be done at the position barring unexpected attrition or a change in scholarship numbers.

Patterson and Denhoff give the Tigers a really nice defensive end duo in this class.

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