You’ve got recruiting questions and we have the answers.
Welcome to All Clemson’s recruiting mailbag, where we will answer your recruiting questions. Or we will at least attempt to do so, as recruiting is a world with many moving parts and an ever-changing landscape where circumstances can often change in a flash.
With that in mind, let’s dive in.
DijunWatsun: What’s your honest assessment of the state of recruiting right now post-NIL/transfer portal era? Seems like we need this to be a big year.
This is a good one. There is no doubt the recruiting landscape has changed with the implementation of NIL and it is having major impacts across the country. Look no further than College Station for an example, as Texas A&M basically used NIL to lock up the top recruiting class in the last cycle. And a ton of those players have already entered the portal. Miami is having a lot of success using NIL, as are a number of other programs. Whether that translates to success on the field, well, that remains to be seen.
As for Clemson specifically, yes, it is going to have an impact. However, probably not nearly as much of one as some made out when the talk of NIL first began. First, Dabo Swinney is never going to get into a bidding war over a high school recruit. So, any prospect that might be playing one school off of another in an effort to drive up his value isn’t going to be on the Tigers’ board. At the same time, I am not sure those kinds of players would have been on the board pre-NIL due to how well the vetting process works.
That’s not to say it won’t have any effect, because it will. Quarterbacks and wide receivers are two of the positions that command the biggest NIL dollars, meaning it might hurt with some of the more highly-rated 5-star guys there. How much it hurts, well that is debatable. I do think it makes your evaluations that much more important, especially at a position like receiver.
Clemson’s culture isn’t going to resonate with all recruits to begin with. NIL or no NIL. Based on numerous conversations I have had with more high school prospects than I can count over the past two years, I tend to believe there are still more than enough blue chip players out there that aren’t just looking for the biggest payday. They know the NIL deals will come, regardless.
And let’s not pretend that the Tigers don’t have an NIL program, and one they are extremely proud of. One that includes a first of its kind NIL institute. We might not hear much about it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Clemson has routinely signed Top 10 classes under Swinney, and I don’t see NIL changing that anytime soon.
Kevin: Any insight or feel on the OL prospects? Seems like we keep missing there this cycle and are reaching further out nationally with offers.
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it is only May 1. With Clemson missing on the three in-state offensive linemen, I get it, the “noise” is amplified. Most don’t want to hear it, but of those in-state guys, the Tigers never had a realistic shot of landing Josiah Thompson, and I never thought they had a realistic shot at getting a commitment from Kam Pringle either. Blake Franks is one they just flat lost out on. It happens.
However, again, the calendar just turned to May. It is way too early to panic. The board was always likely to expand at the position. We are still a month away from the start of official visits. In the last recruiting cycle, all three of Clemson’s offensive line commits came after the big official visit weekend, and that worked out pretty well.
Expect three to be taken in this class, maybe even four. 4-stars Casey Poe, Michael Uini and Fletcher Westphal are all set to be on hand that first weekend in June, and you can expect that number to grow over the next few weeks. I fully expect 4-star William Satterwhite to be in attendance. 4-star Jameson Riggs is another one who might very well be on hand. Let’s see where we are later this summer. If nothing has changed by then, maybe it is time to start worrying a little.
Matthew: Anything new on a 2024 QB?
I have nothing new on any quarterback. Fortunately, it isn’t a position of dire need in the 2024 class, so the coaching staff has the luxury of being patient. Dabo Swinney’s high school camp is set to begin on May 31, and I could see it being after that before we know who the next next target might be. But I don’t see the coaches deciding in May to just wait until 2025.
Curtis: When you gonna dust off the shades?
I promise, when the time comes, you guys will be the first to know.
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