It’s time for this week’s edition of The Insider Report.
We hope everyone had a great weekend.
Notes on Clemson commits
If you’ve been following our recruiting coverage as of late, you’d know that we’ve spoken to a couple of high school head coaches, who coach Clemson’s class of 2023 commits.
We spoke to both Matthew Forester, who coaches five-star quarterback Christopher Vizzina at Birmingham (Alabama) Briarwood Christian School and Ben Reaves, who coaches four-star safety Robert Billings at Alpharetta (Georgia) Milton High School.
With Forester, we asked Briarwood’s head coach about the usage of the run-pass option in the Lions’ offense and how it could benefit Vizzina before he heads off to Clemson.
“That’s something I think for me personally, I got comfortable with this year,” Forester said. “And so, we’re doing a pretty good bit of that throughout the summer and fall camp. It’s something that as the season goes, we’ll bring more and more into that. A couple of big catches from (Week 1) were just RPOs and him reading an out.”
The run-pass option has been a fixture in Clemson’s offense for quite some time now, so getting comfortable with those types of offensive concepts would certainly benefit Vizzina before he graduates into a college offense in January.
“I think it’ll be a neat thing,” Forester continued. “I think (Brandon) Streeter will use that. I think it’ll be an enjoyable part of his growth. I think it’ll be something when he goes to Clemson, there won’t be a concept that he doesn’t feel comfortable translating high school into Clemson.”
Talking with Reaves, the line of questioning was similar in the sense that it revolved around Billings at the next level, but he gave a better feel for what his expectations are and what position we could see the big-time safety play at the next.
“What he’s got going for him is that he’s got such a big frame,” Reaves said. “He’s so long and so fast, that they can literally mold him into whatever they want him to be. Anywhere from a safety to potentially an outside backer, just because he’s got the body that can do it. The body that can handle it. And the skills to go along with it.
“I think ultimately, he’s gonna be best fit being a strong safety because that’s just gonna put him closer to contact and that’s what he’s good at — finding the ball, getting to the ball and knocking the crap out of somebody, play after play. I think ultimately that’ll be a role that’ll fit him and he’ll enjoy.”
Commit on what’s next for Clemson’s 2023 class
Speaking of Clemson’s class of 2023 commits, we recently spoke with Alpharetta (Georgia) St Francis High’s Branden Strozier. While the four-star cornerback has enjoyed a strong start to his senior season, we asked him about the uncommitted prospects that he and the rest of the commits are focused on recruiting at the moment.
While we’ve already shed light on those two prospects, Strozier offered his thoughts on recruiting both Phenix City (Alabama) Central high four-star defensive end Tomarrion Parker and Suwanee (Georgia) North Gwinnett high four-star defensive lineman Kayden McDonald.
Parker, who picked up an offer from Clemson on Aug. 11, has already set two gameday visits. As we previously reported, Parker will be on campus for Clemson’s home opener against Furman on Sept. 10 for an unofficial visit. He’ll return to Tiger Town the weekend of Oct. 22 for Clemson’s game against Syracuse.
As for McDonald, who reported a Clemson offer back in May, he announced a commitment date of Oct. 31. Right now, McDonald is set to take his official visit the weekend of Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, for the South Carolina game. Likely, McDonald will also make his way back up to Clemson for a game day visit before he ultimately makes his decision.
“That’s the ones that we are really trying to get,” Strozier said. “Because before them, we were focused on getting Ronan (Hanafin). Once we got Ronan, they are the priorities now. That’s what we are looking to get.”
Prospects lining up game-day visits
We wanted to shed some light on some upcoming game day visits. We fully expect Willis (Texas) five-star quarterback DJ Lagway and Jefferson (Georgia) five-star linebacker Sammy Brown to make gameday visits this fall. Neither one has officially set a date, but the expectation is that it will be settled after Sept. 1, when Clemson’s coaching staff can directly contact both junior prospects.
One prospect that has already set a game day visit, as we previously reported, is Fort Lauderdale (Florida) St. Thomas Aquinas four-star wide receiver James Madison II, who will be at Memorial Stadium for the Clemson-N.C. State game on Saturday, Oct. 1.
“I’m really excited,” Madison said. “I know they go all in for game days. I’m really excited to be up there.”
Another prospect that plans on making a game-day visit to Memorial Stadium this fall is Buford (Georgia) four-star linebacker Jadon Perlotte. The sophomore in the class of 2025 was looking at visiting Clemson this summer, but that didn’t end up materializing.
While he wasn’t able to say which game he was attending, Perlotte said that it’ll be one of Clemson’s first games. It’ll be his first time in Tiger Town since March 12.
Perlotte (6-4, 210) currently ranks as the nation’s No. 5 linebacker and the No. 33 overall prospect in the class of 2025, per the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Time for Clemson fans to make sure the Tigers are competitive with South Carolina in NIL for baseball.
Come out to support Clemson baseball at Dear Old Clemson’s event on September 30 at the Madren Conference Center. New head coach Erik Bakich will speak and most of next year’s team will be on hand. Get your tickets today or sign up for the Orange level or higher of the Tiger Club to get free access to all Dear Old Clemson events. Dear Old Clemson.