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 defensive ends:
Two is the number of defensive ends Clemson has planned to take in the 2021 class, and the Tigers have filled those spots with commitments from Lakeland (Fla.) Christian School four-star Cade Denhoff and Winston-Salem (N.C.) Prep four-star Zaire Patterson.
While the Tigers may be done at defensive end in the current cycle, they are still recruiting Corona (Calif.) Centennial five-star Korey Foreman, the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect who decommitted from Clemson in April after originally pledging to the program in January.
If Foreman wants to recommit, the Tigers would figure to welcome him back on board as an oversign. But one factor at play that might hurt Clemson’s chances of regaining Foreman’s commitment is the fact he wants to team up in college with Houma (La.) Terrebonne five-star defensive tackle Maason Smith, whom the Tigers are not recruiting. Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley four-star Payton Page is the only defensive tackle Clemson has been pursuing in the 2021 cycle.
Southern Cal, LSU, Georgia and Oregon are some of the other teams in the mix for Foreman.
Looking ahead to the next cycle, Clemson dispensed a couple of offers to defensive ends in the 2022 class on June 1: Columbus (Ga.) Hardaway four-star Mykel Williams and Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep four-star Kenyatta Jackson. Both Williams (No. 77 overall) and Jackson (No. 79 overall) are ranked as top-100 national prospects by 247Sports.
Williams told TCI after receiving his offer from Clemson that the opportunity to play for Dabo Swinney’s program is “huge” for him.
“I like their head coach, I like Coach Swinney,” he said. “I like how he goes about his business. I like how they treat their players over there. I like their facilities. I heard they’ve got real nice facilities. I really like their program.”
Williams had planned to visit Clemson this spring before the trip got cancelled due to the NCAA’s suspension of all in-person recruiting in response to the coronavirus. So, he wants to check out Clemson after the dead period is over and is also looking to get to schools such as LSU, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and possibly South Carolina.
According to Williams, Ohio State, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida and Alabama are the programs that have been recruiting him the hardest.
Jackson, meanwhile, lists offers from Ohio State, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Florida State, Oklahoma and others along with Clemson.
Jackson’s recruitment is in the early stages, and he hasn’t been able to visit many schools to this point in part because of the ongoing ban of on-campus recruiting. He has been to Miami a couple of times, but that’s about it so far.
Clemson has Jackson’s interest and should certainly garner consideration as he moves forward in the recruiting process. Expect the Tigers to attract him for a visit at some point after the NCAA allows recruits to hit the road again.
Clemson masks are now available.
Please stay safe and get your officially licensed Clemson gear right here!