Whereas some programs across college football head into today’s traditional National Signing Day looking to put the finishing touches on their 2021 recruiting classes, Clemson has already had one of the nation’s top classes wrapped up for two months.
All 19 members of Clemson’s 2021 class signed with the program during the early signing period in December, and the Tigers entered today with a class ranked No. 4 nationally by ESPN, No. 5 by 247Sports and No. 6 by Rivals.
This marks the seventh straight recruiting cycle in which Clemson’s class will finish in the top 10 of ESPN’s rankings, dating to 2015. Assuming Clemson’s class finishes in the top five of ESPN’s rankings, it will be the program’s third top-five ranking according to that network in the last four years.
As the rankings presently stand, Clemson is in position to sign back-to-back top-five recruiting classes according to at least one major service for the first time in rankings on record since 2003. Last year, Clemson’s 2020 class finished No. 1 according to ESPN, No. 2 according to Rivals and No. 3 according to 247Sports.
Of Clemson’s 19 signees, 17 are rated as either four- or five-star prospects per the 247Sports Composite, and all 17 of those are ranked among the top 250 prospects in the 2021 class by the same service.
Meanwhile, 10 of the future Tigers are considered top-150 national prospects according to the 247Sports Composite, with seven touted as top-100 prospects.
Three of those are regarded as five-star prospects (offensive tackle Tristan Leigh (pictured above), running back Will Shipley and safety Barrett Carter) and four are top-50 national recruits in Leigh (No. 13 overall), Shipley (No. 31), Carter (No. 32) and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (No. 36).
Fourteen members of the class appear on each of the ESPN 300, Rivals 250 and 247Sports Top247 rankings: Leigh, Shipley, Carter, Trotter Jr., safety Andrew Mukuba, defensive tackle Payton Page, wide receiver Troy Stellato, defensive end Zaire Patterson, defensive end Cade Denhoff, tight end Jake Briningstool, wide receiver Beaux Collins, offensive lineman Marcus Tate, running back Phil Mafah and cornerback Nathaniel Wiggins.
Twelve of Clemson’s 19 signees enrolled early in January to get a head start on their careers as Tigers and will have the opportunity to participate in spring practice.
Dabo Swinney and his staff clearly continue to recruit at an elite level and bring in plenty of star power that figures to help the Tigers keep competing for championships in the coming years.
Clemson fans should be excited about this year’s group of signees, and as the Tigers continue to stockpile talent, the future of the program certainly looks bright.