Clemson still has a lot of work left on the recruiting trail to avoid having its lowest-ranked class in 10 years when the next national signing period begins on Feb. 2.
The program’s 2022 class is ranked 25th in the 247Sports Composite. That’s third in the ACC behind North Carolina and Florida State, and three spots below state rival South Carolina.
The Tigers haven’t been outside the top 10 since finishing 16th in 2017 (when they had 14 only commits) and have been 10th or better for four consecutive seasons, including fifth last year and third two years ago.
Several coaching changes and the small size of the class contributed mightily to the team’s down year in securing the nation’s best players. Four defensive players (three ranked among the top 94) decommitted after longtime defensive coordinator Brent Venables left to become Oklahoma’s head coach. Clemson signed 12 players during last month’s early signing period.
Venables leaves Clemson for OU:
The Tigers’ worst finish in the past 10 years was 20th in 2012. Clemson had offers out to several players who announced their commitments to other schools during Saturday’s All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, most notably running back Trevor Etienne picking Florida after having the Tigers in his final three.
The schools able to beat the Tigers the most times for players who held a Clemson offer during the 2022 cycle are Georgia (eight), Alabama (seven), Ohio State and Texas A&M (six each), Miami (four), Texas and Michigan State (three each).
Subscriber exclusive: Mauldin star Jeadyn Lukus is Clemson’s top-ranked defensive commit, may be the most humble
With the February national signing period now less than three weeks away, there are 10 uncommitted players remaining from Clemson’s 84 offers for the current cycle. Five were new offers that came since Dec. 20, when Daniel defensive lineman Rahiem Lawson (brother of former Tiger and current New York Jets lineman Shaq Lawson) heard from coach Dabo Swinney.
Next was another legacy player on Dec. 31 with Vestavia Hills, Alabama, wide receiver Cole Turner (brother of former Clemson safety Nolan Turner, who just finished his sixth and final year with the program). On the same day, Killeen, Texas, corner Khamari Terrell also received an offer.
Commentary: Facing rare adversity, Clemson football creates little signing day buzz
Signee spotlight: Clemson quarterback signee Cade Klubnik extremely impressive at national all-star game
This month the Tigers extended two more offers — to Montgomery, Alabama, safety Kylon Griffin and Dallas running back Andrew Paul.
Turner (6-foot-2, 178 pounds) isn’t ranked in the national composite and his lone other offer is from Buffalo. Lawson (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) has offers from Power Five programs Georgia Tech, Missouri and Syracuse and is ranked 1,542 and 180th at his position. Another pair of former Daniel defensive linemen join Shaq Lawson in playing at Clemson and the NFL — Jarvis Jenkins and DeShawn Williams.
Terrell (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) is ranked No. 386 and 41st at cornerback. A track star who is considered one of the current cycle’s fastest players, he’s made a monumental leap up recruiting boards the past month and has Clemson in his final four with Florida, Southern Cal and Baylor. The Tigers, Gators and Trojans joined Oregon in extending offers after Dec. 21.
Recruiting coverage: Where do Clemson’s new signees fit into next year’s roster, how much can they contribute
Paul (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) has a slew of big offers despite being ranked 1,211th overall and 89th at his position. He had very little notoriety entering his senior season, but started picking up tremendous momentum a few months back. His offers include Notre Dame, Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Purdue.
Griffin (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) is ranked 978th overall and the No. 78 safety. He has announced Clemson among his final three with Southern Cal and Nebraska. His offers include Penn State, Mississippi State, Florida State, Iowa, Boston College and Tennessee. He’s expected to take an official visit to Nebraska this weekend and has talked to multiple media outlets about visiting Clemson as well.
Griffin’s teammate — linebacker TJ Dudley (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) is ranked No. 198 and 19th-best at his position. He’s had a longstanding Clemson offer and last month decommitted from Oregon after coach Mario Cristobal left for the same role at Miami. He has two official visits remaining and told SI.com’s Ducks Digest he was deciding where to take those trips from among Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee.
New QB: Clemson coaches thrilled with what 5-star quarterback Cade Klubnik adds to the program
The Tigers don’t appear to be in the mix for the remaining 2022 offers they have on the table. Florida defensive lineman Shemar Stewart (ranked ninth overall and third position-wise) has a final three of Georgia, Miami and Texas A&M. Georgia defensive lineman Christen Miller (107th and 19th) appears to be deciding between Georgia and Ohio State.
Clemson was among 12 finalists in early March for Florida safety Alfonzo Allen (454th and 39th), who committed to Arizona State before reopening his recruitment in late August. The Tigers don’t appear to be among the final contenders. Louisiana safety Jacoby Mathews (36th and fourth) decommitted from LSU in late July and is officially visiting Florida this weekend. He doesn’t have very high interest in Clemson.