Clemson Football: No. 1 Recruit Pledging Early Is Working Wonders for Tigers

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2012

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dabo Swinney and Clemson were doing a good job on the recruiting trail when they landed Grayson High School (Loganville, Georgia) cornerback David Kamara on June 13th. The ESPN 3-star talent was a solid get for the program and was long expected to be his ultimate landing spot.

But Kamara's significance runs deeper than just his abilities and his potential.

One day after the 5'10", 175-pounder committed, his best friend, high school teammate and the unanimous No. 1 recruit in the country, Robert Nkemdiche, committed to Clemson as well.

And then Death Valley saw the seas open up, and an influx of commitments and interest immediately flowed through.

Not only have the Tigers landed Nkemdiche, who is considered one of the most complete recruits in some time, but they've also landed two more ESPN 4-star defensive ends, the first offensive tackle in their 2013 class and have potentially three receivers ready to commit in the coming weeks.

It is no coincidence either. Nkemdiche's early commitment has changed things for the Tigers.

ESPN 4-star receiver Richard Benjamin was quoted by ESPN's Corey Lynch as saying, "It's a hot program right now and the best player in the nation [Robert Nkemdiche] just committed there." 

The 6'0", 200-pounder has narrowed down his top four and is expected to pick between the Tigers, USF, UCF and Vanderbilt.

He's not the only one either.

According to Paul Strelow of, 4-star receiver Demarcus Robinson of Fort Valley, Georgia, is getting high on the Tigers. Strelow quotes him as saying, "There is a little bit of separation, and Clemson is kind of pulling away. But I’ll have to go down to Florida and see how it goes."

And should he go to Florida, that is okay too, because Strelow also says Georgia's top receiver, 4-star WR Ryan Jenkins, is expected to commit to the Tigers in early July.

By the time the seventh month of the year hits, the Tigers could possibly have five commitments from 4-star or higher recruits in just a span of a few weeks.

Their 2013 class, which ESPN currently ranks as No. 12 in the nation, looks to be making a huge charge up the board.

They were doing a good, solid job before Nkemdiche came along, but now they're on the verge of challenging the likes of Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Texas and USC for the top haul in the entire country.

Clemson has always been good on the trail—and it doesn't hurt that they have two ESPN 4-star linebackers and another one of the No. 1 recruit's teammates, a 4-star athlete, committed as well—but Robert Nkemdiche's early commitment could help push the Tigers to a new level.