Clemson has quietly inserted itself into the conversation for National Championship contention every season. Part of this is thanks to their stellar recruiting over the last number of years. The 2013 recruiting class for Clemson is stellar and looks to continue those winning expectations.
The 2011 Tigers saw a tremendous season go up in flames in the Orange Bowl. In that game, West Virginia's high powered offense ran all over the Clemson defense, racking up 70 points and nearly 600 yards of total offense.
Needless to say, the defense needed a new look.
That is exactly what the Tigers went out and accomplished on the 2013 recruiting trail.
On the offensive side of the ball, Clemson has two great athletes in quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins—both of whom could still be around come 2013. In these two players, the Tigers' offense is as potent as any in the country. This, combined with their new and improved defense, should help lead the Tigers to another BCS bowl game not only this year, but when the 2013 class finally takes the field.
Let's take a look at some of the top Clemson recruits and what you need to know about each one when they suit up for the Tigers.
Other offers: Tennessee, Stanford, Minnesota
Weight: 225 lbs.
40-yard time: 4.7 secs
Ben Boulware is following the family tradition of attending Clemson. His brother, Garrett Boulware, plays baseball for Clemson.
Boulware attends T.L. Hanna high school in Anderson, South Carolina. During his time in school, Boulware has racked up 420 tackles, including 180 as a junior. It's because of these great numbers that Ben has landed himself on the ESPN150 list.
The Boulwares' Clemson family tradition will continue with Ben's presence on the football team. He will be a welcomed addition to an already loaded recruiting class.
Other offers: Florida, Ohio State, Michigan
Weight: 249 lbs.
40-yard time: 4.82 seconds
Straight out of Avon, Indiana, Elijah Daniel comes into Clemson already having a good idea as to what he will be doing during his time as a Tiger. That is, at least, according to this CBSSports.com article on Daniel's commitment.
"(Defensive coordinator) Brent Venables is going to use me as a D-End in a 4-3 and also rushing some in a 3-4," Daniel said.
It's good to see that Daniel knows ahead of time what he will be expected to do. Daniel has solid explosion off the ball and should be a great asset to the Clemson defense. He will also be helpful due to Clemson's lack of experienced ends at this point beyond Malliciah Goodman, who will graduate before Daniel's arrival.
Other offers: Auburn, Michigan, Wisconsin
Weight: 201 lbs.
40-yard time: 4.55 seconds
Playing both ways for Our Lady of Good Counsel out of Olney, Maryland, Dorian O'Daniel rushed for 897 yards and five touchdowns. He also compiled 38.5 tackles and five sacks last season. He was a participant in the Army All-American game as well.
His decision to choose Clemson was baffling to some as two of his teammates have made commitments to the closer-to-home Virginia. He's also trying to convince one of his other teammates to join the Tigers.
O'Daniel is also an ESPN150 prospect as he is the sixth rated linebacker in the 2013 recruiting class.
Other offers: Alabama, Arkansas, USC
Weight: 280 lbs.
The Honolulu, Hawaii native brings a big body and quick feet with him to Clemson. Scott Pagano, a consensus 4-star prospect, is the latest recruit for the Tigers as he made it official last Tuesday.
For a big man, Pagano has some pretty impressive numbers in speed tests, as posted in this article from scoringlive.com:
He recorded times of 5.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 4.47 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle run. His listed vertical jump is 24.2 inches and is the 20th ranked player at his position nationwide.
Pagano will be able to fill the gap quite well for the Tigers—something that the defense desperately needed last season. While he won't be on campus for another year, his presence will be immediate once he gets there.
Other offers: Oregon, Alabama, LSU, USC.... about every major school in college football.
Weight: 260 lbs.
The top recruit in the 2013 class, Robert Nkemdiche has already made a splash since committing to Clemson. However, not all of that has been good.
Yes, choosing Clemson was a bit of a shock, but it's what he's said since it's made the headlines.
Nkedmiche is looking for a scholarship for one of his teammates and has sparked up some controversy among fellow 2013 recruits.
Because of this "controversy", some schools have started to re-open their doors to the high profile recruit in hopes to convince Robert to jump ship, according to ESPN. Many of his fellow 2013 recruits have spoken on the issue. This includes another recruit, Dorian O'Daniel:
In the long run, I just hope Nkemdiche stays faithful, said linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, one of the Tigers' two commits at The Opening. Clemson's a good school. They don't deserve to be done wrong.
What was supposed to be a great day for Clemson has turned quite messy. Hopefully, the situation will be resolved and Nkedmiche winds up in his original destination: Clemson.