Clemson Football Recruiting: Evaluating Tigers 2015 Commits so Far

Zach Gilliland@@ZachGilliland93Featured ColumnistMay 23, 2014

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers warms up with his players prior to the Discover Orange Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Head coach Dabo Swinney and his group of assistant coaches have put together a well-rounded group of recruits at this point. The Tigers have the No. 4 recruiting class, according to Scout, and will likely finish very high if they keep the players that they have committed.

While this recruiting class does not hold commitments from a big list of 5-stars like we have seen Alabama pull in the past, it is shaping up to be one of Swinney's best classes yet because of the needs it is fulfilling.



On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers are recruiting one area particularly hard: offensive line. This is the position in which Clemson needs to recruit the hardest and become more physical.

Swinney currently holds commitments from four offensive linemen: Mitch Hyatt, Jake Fruhmorgen, Noah Green and Zach Giella.

Hyatt is the prized recruit of this class, and is expected to be able to contribute immediately. His size, 6'6" and 276 pounds, gives him the ability to stop the speed rushers off the edge. While he could stand to add some strength, his quickness and balance makes him a very effective run-blocker.

Fruhmorgen is another big-time commit, as he is the No. 9-ranked offensive tackle, according to Scout. Green and Giella are 3-stars, but both have very good size. Giella is 6'7" and 300 pounds, and Green is 6'5', weighing 275 pounds.

With the dismissal of Chad Kelly recently, the need to add another quarterback has become clear. Swinney currently has two of them committed: Kelly Bryant and Tucker Israel.

When I watch Israel's film, which is shown below, I see a quarterback that is calm and comfortable in the pocket, and puts a great touch on the ball when throwing downfield. While he doesn't have the greatest size at 6'1", he is a perfect fit in Chad Morris' offense because of his awareness and ability to throw downfield accurately.

Bryant is very athletic and will also be a good fit in the offense. If Swinney and company wanted to add another quarterback to this class, Bryant could likely make the switch to receiver because of his size and speed.

The staff hasn't added any running backs to the class at this point. With D.J. Howard graduating, the Tigers might look to add a running back before the process is complete. There were two running backs in the 2014 cycle, so it wouldn't be a surprise if none were signed for 2015.

Clemson has one wide receiver committed and one tight end. The receiver, Shadell Bell, is a 3-star and ranked as the No.55 wide receiver according to Scout.

Garrett Williams is another big-time commit that Clemson just recently added. The tight end from Orlando, Florida is a 4-star and ranked No. 11 at his position by Scout. The Tigers will have a ton of weapons at tight end once Williams signs.



Defensively, the Tigers still have a little bit of work to do this recruiting season. They have started to fill the need at linebacker and in the secondary, but still need to add more defensive linemen.

Swinney will lose a ton of players on the defensive line after this year, including Vic Beasley, Tavaris Barnes, Corey Crawford, Grady Jarrett, Josh Watson and DeShawn Williams. D.J. Reader and Shaq Lawson, who have already proven themselves, will return next year.

The Tigers will lose playmakers on the defensive line such as Grady Jarrett (No.50) after next season.
The Tigers will lose playmakers on the defensive line such as Grady Jarrett (No.50) after next season.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Then there's also guys like Martin Aiken, Carlos Watkins and Scott Pagano who were highly recruited. To add depth and keep the defensive line the strongest part of the team, Swinney will need to add a few more in this area.

Sterling Johnson is definitely a good start though. Scout has him rated as the No. 17 overall defensive tackle and the 4-star stands at 6'5" and 270 pounds right now.

At linebacker the Tigers hold four commitments: 3-star Chad Smith, 3-star Tanner Muse, 3-star J.D. Davis and 3-star Judah Davis.

In the secondary, the Tigers have two 3-star commitments in Kaleb Chalmers and Juwuan Briscoe. They also have a big-time safety committed with Van Smith. Smith is a 4-star and ranked by Scout as the No. 24 safety in the nation.

In 2013, the Tigers brought in eight recruits that play in the secondary, so I wouldn't expect them to sign too many in this cycle. Losing Bashaud Breeland was a bit of a surprise though, so there may be more signed before it's said and done.



It has been a great start for the 2015 recruiting cycle for Swinney, but don't expect things to slow down. There are some big-time targets still available, which I will discuss in an article next week.

The four commitments on the offensive line are huge, but there's still work to do adding some defensive linemen. Adding a couple more in the secondary and at receiver should help this class as well.

Overall, Coach Swinney and his staff have done very well so far and are showing that they can compete with teams like Florida State in recruiting battles.


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