Clemson landed one of the first big pieces of its 2017 recruiting class Sunday, as 4-star wide receiver Amari Rodgers announced his verbal commitment to the Tigers in a Twitter post:
Amari Rodgers3️⃣ @arodgers_3
#WE2DEEP17 #ALLIN ‼️🐯‼️🐯 https://t.co/DpI3yzUDg02016-2-14 17:03:13
Rodgers, who stars at Knoxville Catholic, is the No. 249 overall prospect, the 34th-ranked receiver and the seventh-best player in the state of Tennessee, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
The Tigers have already landed seven verbals, five of which are at least 4-star recruits. Rodgers' commitment puts them in fifth, according to 247Sports' rankings for 2017, though it's admittedly early in the process. Ohio State, Alabama, Miami and Baylor currently rank higher in that order.
Rodgers, who doesn't turn 17 until July, had long been linked to Dabo Swinney. Thirteen of 247Sports' 15 experts predicted he would wind up at Clemson, including each predictor who made his call in this calendar year. He previously committed to USC before re-opening his recruitment in December.
The move was a bit of a surprise given the fact that his father, USC assistant Tee Martin, was retained by new Trojans coach Clay Helton. Martin is considered one of the nation's best recruiters, winning 247Sports' Recruiter of the Year honors for the 2016 class.
Despite his father's presence, it seems a visit to Clemson won Rodgers over.
"My visit to Clemson was good, it was a great experience and I met a lot of great people there," Rodgers said, per Phil Kornblut of the State. "Learned a lot also. I'm looking for a family based organization, where they are all one and care about each other. Also academics of course. And the environment around it, if I could see myself happy there if I weren't playing football."
Listed at 5'10" and 190 pounds, Rodgers has already emerged as a dynamic playmaker. He had 1,570 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns last season, part of a campaign where he gained 2,511 all-purpose yards. Clemson has been a haven for physically gifted receivers in recent seasons, so it's hard for Rodgers to pick a better place to develop.
That said, we're still extremely early in the process. Rodgers has wavered before, so don't be surprised if some coaches try to fracture his relationship with the Tigers between now and signing day.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter