Everything you need to know and what actually matters about the 2019 Clemson Tiger recruiting class.
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Here’s the thing that gets sort of lost in this amazing run under Dabo Swinney – his recruiting classes have rarely been top five caliber. Of course he’s getting a whole lot of NFL talent, and he’s having no problems dominating with the classes he lands, but Clemson hasn’t been at Alabama’s level of recruiting. Georgia has been better, and so has Ohio State, at least until this year.
So even though this isn’t a top five overall class, whatever. It’s close enough to the top ten to keep all the success rolling. Clemson is the living example of why all that matters in recruiting class rankings is getting it close to the pin.
It’s hard to do too much more than get a franchise quarterback like Trevor Lawerence, and Justyn Ross and the receivers landed last year obviously turned out to be a big deal. However, there were a few NFL players brought in, starting with WR Joe Ngata to throw into the mix of the high-powered passing game.
The receivers in this year’s class are rock solid. Ngata is the star, but 6-4 Frank Ladson out of Miami isn’t all that far behind. Throw in the tight ends – Jaeyln Lay out of Georgia is the better of the two signed on – and the targets will be there for Lawrence to work with over the next two years.
In just about any other year, getting a quarterback as good as Taisun Phommachanh would be a big deal. He’s nowhere near the same planet of talent as Lawrence, but he’s promising enough to develop over the next few years and hope for something special to emerge.
After a light year of linebackers coming in, Clemson landed a bunch in this year’s class. None of them are among the elite of the elite, but they can all move. LaVonta Bentley was a great get out of Alabama, Bryton Constantin was stolen away from LSU, and landing Keith Maguire for the inside will turn out to be a big deal.
Along with receiver, defensive line is the one area where the high-end talent really made a difference over the years. Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant were among the best national prospects in 2015, and Dexter Lawrence was the one of ones at defensive tackle in the 2016 haul.
There aren’t any of those talents in this year’s defensive line class, but tackle Tyler Davis isn’t all that far off.
Clemson was able to all but lock in its class in December, with only one signing – RB Michael Dukes – on National Signing Day. So for those who think that the early signing period is a problem for teams as they focus on the College Football Playoff, Clemson just proved that it’s not that big a deal.
Greg Huegel is done after hitting 11-of-16 field goals and 76-of-78 extra points last season. Aidan Swanson was signed out of the IMG Academy in Florida to be the next Tiger kicker. In terms of the biggest instant impact on the 2019 season, he might be the guy.
Clemson doesn’t exactly recruit itself quite yet. Again, it’s still not getting the same classes as the elite recruiting schools, but there certainly doesn’t appear to be an issue. This is a big, amazing class. Next year, though, it’s time to get a few more of those five-star types.