Star-studded visitors headed to Death Valley for Clemson-N.C. State game

Star-studded visitors headed to Death Valley for Clemson-N.C. State game

Football

Star-studded visitors headed to Death Valley for Clemson-N.C. State game

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Clemson will again play host to some top prospects for Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game against N.C. State at Death Valley.

Here are some of the bigger names The Clemson Insider has confirmed as planned visitors for the Clemson-N.C. State game:

A couple of headliners among the recruits expected to be in attendance are a handful of five-stars in the 2024 and 2025 class, respectively. Jefferson (Ga.) linebacker Sammy Brown, Buford (Ga.) athlete KJ Bolden, Buford (Ga.) linebacker Jadon Perlotte and Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day School offensive tackle David Sanders, Jr.

Sanders is the No. 1 overall player in the 2025 class, per 247Sports, which tabs Bolden and Brown as the No. 1 safety and No. 1 linebacker, respectively, in the 2024 class. 

Clemson, of course, doesn’t offer recruits as young as Sanders, per the program’s policy. But the elite o-line prospect would love to add Clemson to his offer list in the future.

“That offer would mean the world to me,” he told The Clemson Insider back in May. “Clemson is definitely one of the schools that I like the most. So, that offer would mean the world. Knowing the coaches and them knowing my family, that just means even more. And then getting back down there and building that relationship with Coach Swinney and Coach Austin, it would just be great.”

Saturday will be of relative importance for Clemson offensive line coach Thomas Austin, as Clemson is set to host two of the Palmetto State’s top prospects in Woodland (Dorchester, S.C.) four-star offensive tackle Kam Pringle and Dillon (S.C.) four-star offensive tackle Josiah Thompson.

The 247Sports Composite considers Pringle and Thompson to be interchangeable Nos. 1 and 2 in the rankings.

Additionally, Greenville (S.C.) High School four-star Blake Franks is planning to attend Saturday’s game. Franks (6-5, 310) participated in the Dabo Swinney Camp this summer and visited Clemson multiple times since this past March. He received an offer from Clemson in late July.

He has heard from Clemson offensive line coach Thomas Austin and other members of the Tigers’ staff since the calendar turned to Sept. 1, when college coaches across the country could begin directly contacting junior prospects in the class of 2024.

“He (Austin) told me I’m a big priority,” Franks said to TCI recently, “and that he’s going to come to one of our games this year.”

Franks holds more than a dozen scholarship offers, including offers from schools such as Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Penn State and South Carolina along with Clemson.

He told TCI earlier this month that while he didn’t know at the time which schools comprise his top five, he definitely thinks Clemson “is high up there” on his list.

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect on the offensive side of the football that will be in The Valley this Saturday is Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day School 2024 four-star quarterback Jake Merklinger. 

The top-100 national recruit and the No. 9 ranked quarterback in the 2024 class per the 247Sports Composite rankings, has made three trips to Clemson in the last calendar year. While he hasn’t yet boasted an offer from the Tigers, he is firmly on their radar and moved up their recruiting board after his performance at Swinney Camp earlier this summer.

A couple of big-time receiver prospects are expected to be on hand as well in Burlington (N.C.) Hugh M. Cummings four-star Jonathan Paylor, Grimsley (Greensboro, N.C.) four-star Alex Taylor,  Cass (Cartersville, Ga.) four-star Sacovie White and King George (Va.) three-star Mekhai White.

The Clemson Insider originally reported that Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas four-star James Madison II would be in attendance, but his status for Saturday’s game is currently unknown with Hurricane Ian lashing through Florida.

Clemson will also play host to Perry (Ga.) Dakari Anderson, an intriguing receiver prospect in the class of 2024, holds a lone offer from Texas A&M. 

Carrollton (Ga.) 2024 four-star tight end Caleb Odom announced that he will be in The Valley this weekend. Odom, who is considered to be a top-15 tight end in his class by the 247Sports Composite rankings, told The Clemson Insider back in August that he had been invited to some camps, but there was no hard interest from the Tigers just yet.

That appears to have changed as Odom, who will be at Saturday’s contest versus N.C. State, said that this weekend is “gonna be crazy.”

Switching over to the defensive side of the football, one of the top defensive back prospects planning to visit Clemson for Saturday’s game is Tavoy Feagin, a four-star cornerback from Carrollwood Day School in Tampa, Fla.

Feagin, a 6-foot, 170-pound junior, was the first player at his position to receive an offer from Clemson when the Tigers began dispensing offers to class of 2024 recruits back on June 1.

After traveling to Clemson for an unofficial visit in early March, Feagin made his way back to campus on June 2. Later in June, he included the Tigers among his top 10 schools, along with Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

“The reason why I put Clemson in my top 10 was because I really like the coaching staff and the atmosphere,” he said to TCI after dropping the list.

Feagin is ranked as high as the No. 73 overall prospect in the 2024 class by 247Sports.

The other top defensive back prospect that will be in attendance is Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith four-star cornerback Asaad Brown.

Brown — ranked as the nation’s No. 9 cornerback and No. 116 overall prospect in the class of 2024 by 247Sports — dropped a top-10 list earlier this month featuring Clemson along with Arkansas, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, LSU, Florida State, North Carolina, NC State and Penn State.

Among other notable recruits on Clemson’s anticipated guest list for Saturday’s game are Central (S.C.) D W Daniel 2023 wide receiver Jaylen Brown-Wallace, Lawrenceville (Ga.) 2024 four-star defensive lineman Justin Greene, Buford (Ga.) 2024 four-star defensive end KingJoseph Edwards, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Christian School 2024 four-star athlete Boo Carter, Pike Road (Ala.) 2024 four-star defensive lineman Malik Blocton, Taylor (Katy, TX.) 2024 three-star tight end Ian Flynt, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) 2024 three-star offensive lineman Jake Guarnera, Hough (Cornelius, N.C.) kicker Nolan Hauser, Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.) 2024 RB Turbo Richard, Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian Academy 2025 four-star running back Gideon Davidson, 2025 Rabun Gap-Nacoochee (Georgia) School 2025 tight end Marshall Pritchett, Buford (Ga.) 2026 defensive lineman Bryce Perry-Wright and Cass (Cartersville, Ga.) 2026 quarterback Brodie McWhorter.

Clemson 2023 quarterback commitment Christopher Vizzina of Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christin School, offensive line commit Harris Sewell of Permian (Odessa, TX.), defensive end commit AJ Hoffler of College Park (Ga.) Woodward Academy, linebacker commit Jamal Anderson of Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek and offensive line commit Ian Reed of Vandegrift (Austin, TX.) will also be in The Valley on Saturday.

Some new additions to the list include Meadowcreek (Norcross, Ga.) 2024 four-star defensive lineman Champ Thompson and Tuscarora (Leesburg, Va.) 2024 four-star offensive tackle Fletcher Westphal. Additionally, Ridgeview (Columbia, S.C.) 2023 wide receiver Adonis McDaniel will be in attendance as long as the weather holds up.

Dear Old Clemson is excited to announce a limited edition football and poster signed by Clemson’s Avengers.

Now there is a new way you can support Clemson student-athletes. Purchase collectibles from Dear Old Clemson and the proceeds with go to support Clemson student-athletes. Visit Dear Old Clemson to find out how you can help!

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