Tiger Tracker: All Clemson Recruiting Mailbag

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: How do you see the Garrett Riley hire impacting recruiting for the 24 class and beyond?

It certainly can’t hurt, that’s for sure. Make no mistake, the regression of Clemson’s offense over the past two seasons is being used against them on the recruiting trail. Skill players want to play in explosive offenses and the Tigers just haven’t been very explosive the past two years. I think it is safe to assume it has hurt them a little, particularly with wide receivers, and especially in the 2023 class. Riley is known for putting his players in a position to make plays, and he has also shown he is capable of adapting his scheme to fit the strengths of the players on the roster.

And let’s not forget the success he’s had with the quarterbacks that have played in his offenses at SMU and TCU. While Clemson has been extremely successful at recruiting quarterbacks with Brandon Streeter as quarterbacks coach, there have been questions about how some of those players developed under his watch. Riley’s impact on guys like Max Duggan at TCU and Shane Buechele and Tanner Mordecai at SMU is undeniable. The results speak for themselves and that attracts talent.

TJ: How do you feel about our chances of landing Sammy Brown? Brent Venables pulling in Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter Jr was huge. By no means am I trying to discredit or downplay the potential of Jamal Anderson or Dee Crayton, because I’m sure they will be good, but just hoping we can continue to pull in elite linebacker talent with Wes Goodwin.

I think Clemson is a serious contender for Sammy Brown. That certainly doesn’t mean they will land him, but they should be considered one of the favorites. Tennessee is also one of the favorites.

Brown told me he was hoping to make it to Elite Junior Day on January 28, but a wrestling tournament could keep him from attending. When it comes to Wes Goodwin, though, he only helps Clemson here.

The two have an extremely good relationship. Both are avid outdoorsmen and have bonded over that. There is still a way to go with  Brown, though. He told me he might announce a Top 5 in the spring, then take some official visits in the spring and summer before making any decision.

As for keeping up with Venables as far as pulling in elite talent, we will see what happens. It’s not like Clemson was routinely signing these highly-rated linebackers class after class during his tenure. In 2020, there was Trenton Simpson, but the other two linebackers signed were Sergio Allen and Kevin Swint. In 2019, Bryton Constantin, LaVonta Bentley, Kane Petterson, Keith Maguire and Greg Williams. In 2018, it was Mike Jones Jr. and Jake Venables. 

For the Tigers, it has been more about development, in my opinion. Finding the right fits. Venables was extremely successful at developing players like James Skalski, Chad Smith and Ben Boulware, to name a few. We’ll see if Goodwin can continue that trend.

Robbie: With Jim Harbaugh possibly bolting to the NFL, does that help our chances with 2024 QB Jadyn Davis?

Just Harbaugh flirting with going back to the NFL has to at the very least give Davis some pause. However, it is now apparent he is staying so I don’t know how much it actually helps Clemson. 

Davis has been attending Dabo Swinney’s high school camps since he was in grade school. He knows about everything Clemson has to offer. It sounds like we might be nearing a decision with Davis but if he really wanted to go to Clemson, this recruitment might have already been over.

Maybe the hiring of Garrett Riley changes things, or maybe it doesn’t. The way Clemson’s offense has performed the past two seasons certainly hasn’t done them any favors here. 

Will: Who do you think will be an immediate impact player(s) from this year’s class?

I will give you one on offense and one on defense. Let’s start with the obvious, DL Peter Woods. He is a plug-and-play type of talent, and he is absolutely capable of coming in and helping at end or tackle. The Tigers are a little thin on experience at end, and I could easily see Woods having a major impact as a freshman.

On the offensive side, I will go with WR Noble Johnson. He is the only wideout enrolling early and he averaged more than 17 yards per reception during his high school career. Clemson needs more out of its receivers in 2023, and some of these younger players will have some opportunities. Look for Johnson to make the most of his.

Clemson’s odds of winning the national title in 2023 currently sit at +1600, according to Fanduel.

Do you have any recruiting questions that you want to ask? If so, just let us know. Shoot us an email at jp@clemsonmaven.io or shoot us a DM on Twitter.

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