Tiger Tracker: All Clemson Recruiting Mailbag

Jadyn Davis Jason Priester All Clemson

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.

DijonWatson: Air Noland forecast?

Kevin: If Jadyn Davis and Air Noland both commit elsewhere, do you think that we will go further down the list to find a QB or just punt and add in 2025?

Neil: I saw another website that said Noland was leaning to the U. With Davis leaning to Michigan, that means we’d be looking at our 3-4th choices for QB. Overall, how do you feel recruiting is doing?

We’re going to tackle all three of these in one shot. First, no official forecast as of yet for Noland. He still has more visits to take, including one to Ohio State. Let’s see where we are after that.

Having said all that, I do not like Clemson’s chances here. I have always thought they got in a little late and with him announcing on April 8, there is really no realistic shot at getting him back to campus prior to him committing. Not even for a spring practice. I thought Miami was probably the team to beat heading into the spring, and as we sit here today, I have heard nothing substantial enough to change my mind about that.

Where Clemson would turn next, that is yet to be determined. Jake Merklinger has been a name that keeps popping up, but this is another recruitment where the Tigers would be late arriving to the party. However, I do not think they will decide in April to “punt” until 2025. I absolutely believe the staff still wants to add a quarterback in this class. And this early in the cycle, there will still be options. They just might not be players ranked inside of the Top 10 at the position, and personally, I don’t think having that kind of quarterback in this class is a must.

As for how recruiting is going overall, I certainly don’t think not being able to land one of the top-rated quarterbacks in this cycle is any indication that things are slipping. I have always been of the opinion that signing a guy of that caliber would be extremely difficult in this class. Clemson already has Cade Klubnik on campus, as well as Chris Vizzina, and both are still underclassmen.

Klubnik is a former 5-star and Vizzina was a 5-star up until just before the early signing period. The days of stacking talent at quarterback are pretty much over for most schools, especially at a school like Clemson, where the staff is so transparent about telling recruits exactly where they stand.

Over the past several years, the Tigers have recruited at a pretty consistent level. The last time they finished ranked outside of the Top 10 was in 2017. Only twice during that span did they finish inside the Top 5. So somewhere right between that five and ten range is about the norm and I see no reason why it won’t be again in 2024.

Mark: Why does Clemson seem to miss on so many OL and has that been a priority? Skill players and DL always seem to be more important than the OL.

Every recruitment is its own unique story and the reason why Clemson misses on one offensive linemen might not be why they miss on another. There are so many different things that factor in and if we’re talking in-state kids that are down to Clemson and South Carolina, you can add a couple of more layers, including which school that particular recruit grew up rooting for, family ties, and so on.

For me, though, I think the biggest thing that has hurt the Tigers when it comes to recruiting offensive linemen is the program’s lack of a track record of putting those guys into the NFL. Until that changes, it will always be something they have to overcome on the recruiting trail.

I do think Thomas Austin is off to a fantastic start as the offensive line coach. It’s obvious he wants to get bigger and more athletic up front and it’s hard to knock the three players he signed in his first recruiting cycle. Yes, they have missed on one in-state offensive lineman in Kam Pringle already in 2024, and will likely miss on two more in Josiah Thompson and Blake Franks. Thompson and Pringle were always going to be longshots, and I think Franks is just going to be a guy they get beat for, and not for any one reason. I think multiple things are factoring in, including an easier path to the field.

I would suggest waiting on seeing who they actually sign before getting hung up on the misses. My bet is they end up with a better prospect in place of Franks. Remember, they missed on some early targets in 2023, including Sam Pendleton and Sullivan Absher, who both went to Notre Dame. Austin still managed to land three blue-chip talents, each with extremely high upside.

Regardless, I definitely wouldn’t say the skill positions and defensive line are more of a priority. Wide receiver and defensive linemen are two positions Clemson has been extremely successful at when it comes to putting players into the NFL. That will always make it a little easier to attract those guys.

Just look at running back, which I would consider a skill position. Clemson has seen multiple misses in the 2022 and 2023 classes, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The same goes for the offensive line. The effort is there. It’s, no doubt, a priority. They’ve taken big swings. They have just, more often than not, not been very successful at always landing those top targets.

Look no further than the 2025 class as an example. OL David Sanders is arguably the top player in the class, and he is going to be priority number one next cycle. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if he were to get an offer a little earlier than when Clemson generally starts handing them out, just to reinforce that sentiment. They might not get him, but again, if won’t be because of lack of effort.

Deron: Where does Clemson stand with some of the defensive ends that have been offered?

Eddrick Houston has long been at the top of the board. The 5-star player visited twice for games last season. He has yet to officially lock in any June officials, so we will have to wait and see if the Tigers get one.

CJ Jackson has already publicly said he plans to take an official to Clemson in June. He picked up his offer late last year and also visited for two different games. This one looks to be coming down to Clemson and Georgia, with the Tigers very much in it.

Solomon Williams is another defensive end to keep an eye on. He was on campus before the Tigers broke for spring break. Jeremiah Beaman also has an offer, but I think Alabama currently has the upper hand in that one.

The number is two. Let’s see which ends wind up lining up visits for that first weekend in June.

Wanna ask a recruiting question, shoot us an email a jp@clemsonmaven.io or shoot us a DM on Twitter.

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