Looking ahead: Linebacker

Looking ahead: Linebacker

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Looking ahead: Linebacker

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As Clemson looks to close out its 2021 recruiting class in strong fashion, it is also beginning to lay the groundwork for the 2022 class as evidenced by its numerous offers to rising junior recruits since June 1.

In our Looking Ahead series, The Clemson Insider gives a position-by-position overview of the top remaining targets in the current cycle and looks ahead to some of the names to know in the 2022 class.

In this article, we focus on linebackers:

Clemson put a bow on its 2021 linebacker recruiting last month when it landed a commitment from Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett four-star Barrett Carter, the No. 51 overall prospect in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Carter gave the Tigers their second and final anticipated linebacker take, joining Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s four-star Jeremiah Trotter Jr., the son of former NFL standout and Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. Trotter Jr., who committed to Clemson following the Texas A&M game last September, slots in as the nation’s No. 35 overall prospect per the 247Sports Composite.

Looking ahead to the 2022 class, three standout linebackers were among the first prospects in the next cycle to receive offers from Clemson at the beginning of this month: Manassas (Va.) Stonewall Jackson five-star Shawn Murphy, Salisbury (N.C.) four-star Jalon Walker and Montgomery (Ala.) Catholic Prep four-star T.J. Dudley.

Murphy is rated as a five-star by Rivals, while 247Sports ranks him as the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 3 overall prospect in the 2022 class. His list of 40-plus offers features schools such as Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma. Clemson got him on campus in March 2019 and figures to get a closer look after joining what will be a highly contested recruitment for the sought-after prospect.

Walker, meanwhile, has offers from North Carolina, NC State, Auburn, Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M and numerous others in addition to Clemson. He has been on the Tigers’ radar for multiple years, having participated in the Dabo Swinney Camp each of the last three summers, and was most recently on campus for an unofficial visit during spring practice in March.

Walker’s father, Curtis, has been the head coach at Catawba College since 2012. Walker grew up a Clemson fan while living in Conway, S.C., when his dad was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Coastal Carolina. Walker has a good relationship with Clemson redshirt sophomore defensive end K.J. Henry, as Henry’s father, Keith, served as the defensive coordinator under Walker’s father at Catawba from 2013-16.

As for Dudley, his offer sheet includes Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee among others.

Clemson made a great impression on Dudley while playing host to him in March and is in a good spot with him early in the process.

Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley North four-star athlete Dasan McCullough is another prospect with a Clemson offer who could see action at linebacker for the Tigers in the future. The Tigers view him as a versatile player capable of lining up at linebacker, safety, slot cornerback and even defensive end at times.

On June 10, McCullough named Clemson one of his top 10 schools along with Florida, Florida State, Nebraska, Texas, Ohio State, LSU, Southern Cal, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

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