Five-star recruit Jackson Carman listed the Clemson Tigers as his leader with the Ohio State Buckeyes as a close second. Carman is the No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2018 recruiting class.
There must be something in the water at Clemson. If not, then the Tigers ending their national championship drought must have unlocked a whole new level for Dabo Swinney’s recruiting persona.
Clemson climbed its way into the top five of the 2018 recruiting class rankings this past weekend by securing a commitment from 5-star defensive end Xavier Thomas, the No. 1 overall player in the country.
On top of that, the Tigers are pushing to flip 5-star defensive end Micah Parsons, a Penn State pledge and the No. 3 overall player in the class. Clemson is chasing 5-star running back Zamir White, too. He’s the No. 4 overall player in the nation.
Plus, the Tigers already have 5-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 2 overall player in the CI 25 recruiting rankings, committed in their class.
Talk about pursuing the best of the best.
In theory, it makes sense. As a defending national champion, a program wants to remain on top of the college football world and recruit the most elite talent available. But what Clemson is trying to do is simply absurd. If Swinney’s staff pulls off the unthinkable, the Tigers could walk away with four of the top five recruits in the nation. In a best-case scenario, they’ll land five of the top 10.
This past weekend, 5-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman, the No. 10 overall player and No. 1 player at his position, told ESPN Clemson is leading in his recruitment with Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes right behind.
“Just experiencing [Clemson’s] whole environment, facilities, meeting with the coaches and players, it was better than any other place I’ve visited so far,” Carman said. “I would probably say it’s 1a and 1b with Clemson and Ohio State. Seeing everything was eye-opening and awesome.”
And Carman is from Fairfield, Ohio. So, Clemson adding the 6-foot-6, 290-pound mammoth of an offensive lineman would be huge, not just to add another talented piece to the class but to get one from the Buckeyes’ state.
In a class where Swinney’s team can only take 14-16 signees — depending on who leaves after this season — five of them could be ranked within the top 10. And four of the Tigers’ current eight commits are rated as 4-star players.
Clemson has never been a team to dominate the recruiting rankings. It has flirted with the top 10 and reserved a seat in the top 25 year after year, but the Tigers rarely overloaded with blue-chip talent. This could be the class that breaks the mold, allowing Clemson to finish its evolution from a great program to an elite one — from a title contender to a title defender.
Swinney is still pursuing quality rather than quantity. But the quality of the class he’s closing in on now is unprecedented.