Clemson Football

Clemson Football: 10 Current Tigers Who Have Outplayed Their Recruiting Rankings

Zach GillilandFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2014

Clemson Football: 10 Current Tigers Who Have Outplayed Their Recruiting Rankings

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    Clemson has become one of the top recruiting schools in the nation lately, but the Tigers have shown with the guys on this list that a star rating is merely just a number.

    Recruiting rankings are very useful for fans to gauge a prospect's potential, but so many times prospects are ranked lower than what they deserve.

    It goes to show how well a player can become once he is around certain coaches, and for these 12 guys, it's been no different.

    Note: For Shaq Lawson and Isaiah Battle, their original high school rankings were used. Both became ranked higher after a year of prep school, but the rankings before prep school were used in this article.

Honorable Mentions

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    First, we will start off with a couple of honorable mentions.

    D.J. Howard, RB

    Career Stats: 581 yards rushing for five touchdowns Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 62 overall safety

    Analysis: Howard is the early favorite to be the starting running back for 2014, but he will have to hold off others, such as Wayne Gallman, Zac Brooks, C.J. Davidson and Tyshon Dye, for the job.

    He hasn't exactly exceeded his 3-star rating, but he finds himself on the honorable mentions because of the opportunity he has this fall. He will likely get touches around the goal line for this offense because of his 6'0" frame, and he could be set to have a solid season.


    Sam Cooper, TE

    Career Stats: 17 receptions for 161 yards and three touchdowns Rating: 2-star Ranking: No. 53 overall tight end

    Analysis: Cooper was a 2-star prospect before arriving at Clemson and was set to have a productive season last year before dealing with an injury.

    He makes this list because, like Howard, he also has the potential to have a good season in 2014.

10. Tavaris Barnes

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    Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

    Career Stats: 45 tackles (4.5 for loss) and two sacks Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 73 overall defensive end

    Analysis: Tavaris Barnes was impressive in the spring game with five sacks. In spring ball, the defensive player only has to touch the quarterback for it to be considered a sack, but it was still surprising the way Barnes had his way with the offensive line.

    He was ranked low in high school, at No. 73 among defensive ends, but Barnes has the opportunity for a breakout senior season in 2014 if the spring game was an accurate measure of his progression.

9. Isaiah Battle

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 14 knockdowns in 15 games played Rating: 3-star Ranking: No.101 overall offensive tackle

    Analysis: Many folks remember Isaiah Battle for his performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU two years ago as a freshman, but he didn't get much recognition in high school.

    Ranked No. 101 among offensive tackles by Scout, Battle enrolled at Fork Union Military Academy and became a 4-star before arriving at Clemson.

    This season he will be one of Clemson's best offensive linemen, and he has a shot at making it to the NFL in the future because of his 6'7" stature.

8. Ryan Norton

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 37 knockdowns in 25 games played Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 18 overall center

    Analysis: Last season, Ryan Norton was named ACC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in the Georgia game.

    He won the starting job at center last season and has become one of the better offensive linemen in the ACC.

7. Stanton Seckinger

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 25 receptions for 279 yards and five touchdowns Rating: 2-star Ranking: Unranked wide receiver

    Analysis: After bulking up enough to play tight end, Stanton Seckinger made the switch from wide receiver. He has become a big player for the Tigers, catching two game-winning touchdowns in 2013, first against Georgia and then versus Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.

    Seckinger is the only player on this list that wasn't even ranked at his position by Scout. He's a great example of what hard work and dedication can turn into.

6. DeShawn Williams

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    RICHARD SHIRO/Associated Press

    Career Stats: 107 tackles (8.5 for loss) and two sacks Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 84 overall defensive tackle

    Analysis: DeShawn Williams was ranked low among defensive tackles in high school but is now one of the leaders on a defensive line that could be one of the best in the country next season.

5. Shaq Lawson

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    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    Career Stats: 35 tackles (10 for loss) and four sacks Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 116 overall defensive end

    Analysis: The way Shaq Lawson burst on the scene as a freshman last season was remarkable, and he has the potential to be great for the Tigers in the years to come.

    In high school, he was ranked No. 116 for defensive ends, but it would be hard to name 115 guys at his position now that are better.

4. Cole Stoudt

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    RAINIER EHRHARDT/Associated Press

    Career Stats: 72.3 percent completion percentage and 742 yards passing for eight touchdowns Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 28 overall quarterback

    Analysis: Cole Stoudt hasn't had many opportunities to show why he's better than his high school rating, but he has made the most of them.

    Stoudt was an ideal backup for Tajh Boyd—someone who knew the offense and was ready to go if needed. Now it's his time to lead Chad Morris' offensive attack, and it appears he is up to the challenge.

    If the spring game was an accurate preview of how Stoudt will perform this season, he will show why he deserved to be ranked higher in high school.

3. Grady Jarrett

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 134 tackles (19.5 for loss) and four sacks Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 41 overall defensive tackle

    Analysis: Grady Jarrett has outplayed his 3-star rating and has become one of the best defensive tackles in the ACC, if not the nation.

    Whether it was a lack of exposure in high school or just finding the right coaches at Clemson, something has worked well for Jarrett.

2. Adam Humphries

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 97 receptions for 893 yards and three touchdowns Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 123 overall cornerback

    Analysis: Adam Humphries was listed as a cornerback by Scout but has become one of Clemson's most reliable wide receivers.

    With Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant gone, Humphries could be the main ingredient in the passing game this fall.

1. Vic Beasley

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 64 tackles (31 for loss) and 21 sacks Rating: 3-star Ranking: No. 36 overall outside linebacker

    Analysis: Vic Beasley was a very underrated high school prospect and has done well proving the critics wrong. When he arrived at Clemson the coaches were unsure which position would best suit him, but Beasley has found a comfortable spot at defensive end the last two seasons.

    He has a great chance of being taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft and has definitely outplayed his 3-star rating.

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