Clemson has an excellent recruiting class this year that has earned top 15 honors from ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals. They are headlined by cornerback MacKensie Alexander and feature a heavy defensive focus; however, they lack a quarterback.
Clemson looks like they should be able to end up pushing for the ACC Championship again, and this class could be the thing that puts them over the top to win it. Follow along as we grade the Clemson recruiting class position-by-position.
RB Tyshon Dye: 6'0", 208 pounds, 4 stars, rated 92
The Tigers are very deep at the running back spot and didn't need one unless he could come right in and compete for the starting role. Tyshon Dye could definitely do that and more. The 6'0", 208-pound back runs a 4.44 in the 40 and has vision to do well even as a freshman back in the ACC.
WR Mike Williams: 6'4", 210 pounds, 4 stars, rated 90
WR Kyrin Priester: 6'2", 185 pounds, 3 stars, rated 89
TE Jordan Leggett: 6'5", 205 pounds, 3 stars, rated 88
At wide receiver, they lost a pair of starting caliber players. Mike Williams and Kyrin Priester could both compete for the starting spot across from Sammy Watkins. They are both receivers who are more quick than fast, but they know how to use their long frames and body control to gain possession of the ball.
Jordan Leggett has an excellent shot at eventually competing for the starting role at tight end. However, the Tigers didn't need someone who could start there right away so they can afford to bring him along slowly and let him gain bulk.
OG Tyrone Crowder: 6'1", 330 pounds, 4 star, rated 94
OG Maverick Morris: 6'4", 280 pounds, 3 stars, rated 86
Despite being very deep all along the offensive line, the Tigers could always add more talent there. It won't shock anyone to eventually see Maverick Morris as a possible starter at either guard or tackle. But he will have to earn it based on the amount of talent that's currently at Clemson.
UPDATE: Tyrone Crowder was added to the class late. He boosts the offensive line a ton. He has the size and strength to start instantly if they want him to.
DT Scott Pagano: 6'3", 280 pounds, 4 stars, rated 90
DE Shaq Lawson: 6'4", 265 pounds, 4 stars, rated 90
DE Ebeneser Ogundeko: 6'4", 238 pounds, 3 stars, rated 89
DE Dane Rogers: 6'3", 230 pounds, 3 stars, rated 88
Another spot where there are few players leaving, and there's quite a bit of talent. It's shocking to see just how many juniors and sophomores are on the Tigers. It will make redshirting this entire group a smart thing to do.
This group doesn't have "Instant Impact" written on it at all. Nonetheless, it's still talented and when you can get a group of four players with a ton of potential, it's worth a shot to bring them all in.
OLB Dorian O'Daniel: 6'1", 205 pounds, 4 stars, rated 94
OLB Wayne Gallman: 6'1", 195 pounds, 4 stars, rated 91
ILB Ben Boulware: 6'0", 230 pounds, 4 stars, rated 90
OLB D.J. Greenlee: 6'3", 205 pounds, 2 stars, rated 75
Dorian O'Daniel is likely the only player from this class who will have an instant impact. This should be a talented class long term though and will provide at the very minimum a nickel linebacker in Wayne Gallman, a starting weak-side linebacker in O'Daniel and a talented competitor for middle linebacker in Ben Boulware.
CB Mackensie Alexander: 5'10", 180 pounds, 5 stars, rated 99
CB Cordrea Tankersley: 6'2", 185 pounds, 4 stars, rated 90
S Jayron Kearse: 6'4", 185 pounds, 4 stars, rated 90
S Korrin Wiggins: 6'1", 190 pounds, 3 stars, rated 89
CB Adrian Baker: 6'1", 163 pounds, 3 stars, rated 88
S Jadar Johnson: 6'1", 185 pounds, 3 stars, rated 85
S T.J. Green: 6'2", 189 pounds, 3 stars, rated 83
CB Marcus Edmond: 6'0", 165 pounds, 3 stars, rated 82
CB Ryan Carter: 51'0", 175 pounds, 2 stars, rated 76
This has been the weakest part on the Clemson team for the past couple of years. The overall talent level is getting a steroid shot in the arm with these eight players though. MacKensie Alexander and Cordrea Tankersly could challenge for both the starting corner spots in the defense.
Jayron Kearse is an athlete who could start out as a safety and eventually work his way into a nickel and safety role. Adrian Baker, T.J. Green and Marcus Edmond may never start for the Tigers, but all three of them have the talent to contribute as reserves for the long term.
Overall, Dabo Swinney has brought in a ton of defensive talent for his team to make another run at the ACC title. There were some calculated moves as far as the offense is concerned but for the most part, this class was designed to load talent to the defensive side of the ball.
When 16 out of 21 players picked are on the defensive side of the ball, it says that the defense is the focus. The level of talent is more than deserving of a top 15 class too. However, missing out on some 5-star guys late, who had shown interest, slightly hurts what could have been a top-5 class.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.