You’ve got recruiting questions and we have the answers.
Welcome to the All Clemson Tigers’ 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.
Kevin: Does Will Taylor leaving change the WR number for 2024, meaning would they take Mike Matthews and Alex Taylor?
Yes, Will Taylor’s departure from the football program opens up a scholarship at receiver. However, I don’t think that automatically leads to the coaches suddenly deciding to take both Mike Matthews and Alex Taylor.
I don’t think Clemson does anything before getting some closure with Matthews. While Taylor is set to announce on July 29, Matthews has yet to set a commitment date, and the further we get into the summer without one, the more realistic the chance of him taking his recruitment into the fall.
What this does is allow is for the staff to take Matthews as a receiver instead of potentially over-signing or taking him as an ATH. That is, if they can land him.
I have been of the opinion that somehow, some way, we get to three receivers in this class. Or that Clemson at least makes an effort to get to three. But again, I don’t think we see any movement until we have gotten a decision on Matthews.
Rod: Will Clemson be forced to dive into the portal for OL in the next couple years of due to missing out on top prospects?
That is a very good question. After signing a strong class in 2023, Clemson is struggling to land offensive linemen in this class. There is no sugarcoating that. So far they are 1-for-5 with offensive linemen that attended the big official visit weekend, with one more in Jameson Riggs still uncommitted. And it isn’t looking like the Tigers will land him either.
Whether those misses force the coaches to the portal in the future is something we might not know for two or three more years. I think that depends on what happens the rest of this cycle leads to any gaps down the road. It’s a possibility.
I am of the opinion that Clemson has recruited fairly well along the offensive line over the past few cycles. There have been a lot of blue-chip talents singed going back to 2021. So I think the Tigers have set themselves up well for the next couple of years.
However, I am also of the opinion that offensive line play has been less than stellar over the past two seasons. It is time some of that recruiting success starts translating to the field.
We are just going to have to wait and see who they actually end up with when signing day gets here. Clemson wants to sign three in this class and already have Ronan ‘O Connell on board. We will also have to wait and see how some of the younger guys on the roster develop over the next couple of years.
Kendrick: Is the staff not interested in 2026 QB Julian “Ju Ju” Lewis?
Lewis might very well be the top player in his class. His ceiling is that high. He worked out at Dabo Swinney’s high school camp a year ago, before he was even a freshman in high school, and absolutely looked the part while working out with the older quarterbacks. I think that was the last time he has been on campus.
For me, it isn’t whether Clemson will be interested in him, it’s how much interest will he have in Clemson. Speaking with someone a few weeks ago, I was told that Lewis and his family are very much aware of how the Tigers approach the recruiting process. That they know the coaches generally don’t start offering players until the summer before their junior seasons. So while he already has three dozen offers, he does not have one from the Tigers. While I can’t say for sure, I got the sense that this is a case where that could hurt Clemson.
When I reached out to him in the spring and asked if he was planning on making a stop by Clemson, he told me he was only focused on schools that have offered him, so when he released his top eight on Wednesday, I was not surprised one bit that Clemson did not make the cut.
There have been examples of the Tigers offering quarterbacks early. Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson both picked up offers before the start of their sophomore seasons. The landscape has changed since then, though, and dramatically. I’m not sure we ever see Clemson offer a player that early again.
Having said all that, this is a recruitment that still has a lot of life left in it. It is just getting started really. We’ll just have to see what happens in the coming months. How much NIL factors into this thing also plays a part. But if you think you have a realistic shot at him, you take your swing and let the chips fall where they may. Whether the Tigers enter the race remains to be seen. I can say that it is an offer he has said he wants.
“It’s one of the top offers you can get as a quarterback and I want one,” Lewis told me in a previous interview.
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