Christmas came early for the Clemson Tigers, as the first ever early signing day brought 15 committed players into the program and left the program with a top-10 class for the fourth straight year. One quarter of the signed recruits are rated as 5-star prospects, as the Tigers signed four of the top nine players in the country.
To start off the morning, Clemson signed all of their verbal commits — Trevor Lawrence, Jordan McFadden, Kyler McMichael, Darnell Jefferies, BT Potter, Mike Jones Jr, Braden Galloway, Justin Mascoll, Josh Belk, Derion Kendrick, Jake Venables and Xavier Thomas.
Dabo Swinney then waited for his last four targets to announce their schools. K.J Henry and Lyn-J Dixon committed to the Tigers, as expected, but the most shocking news came when the country’s top overall offensive tackle, Jackson Carman, committed to the Tigers. Carman was expected to sign with Ohio State until an unexpected visit to Clemson changed his mind. Soon later, news broke out that Carman was told by Swinney that Urban Meyer was on the back leg of his coaching career at Ohio State, which partially swayed the mammoth tackle to join the Tigers.
Cade Mays is another offensive line target that Clemson was after hard, but after a Georgia commitment from fellow 5-star lineman Jamaree Salyer, Mays followed and decided to join the Bulldogs, who now have the top class in the country. With Clemson losing at least two offensive linemen to the NFL draft, Mays would have been a huge get. While the loss of Mays hurts, Clemson still picked up some very good replacements for next season in McFadden and Carman.
On the defensive side of the ball, Clemson should continue its dominance at the line of scrimmage with KJ Henry, Xavier Thomas, Josh Belk, Darnell Jefferies and Justin Mascoll. The Tigers, who have led the nation in tackles for loss for four straight years, signed the number one, three and sixth-ranked defensive ends along with the fifth-ranked defensive tackle. It’s going to be exciting to see what Todd Bates does with these young men in the offseason.
Moving along from early signing day, Trevor Lawrence was named USA Today’s All-USA Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday. The Clemson commit will look to earn the starting role next year if Kelly Bryant decides to leave early.
Clemson, already known as “WRU”, could soon be known as “QBU”, as the nation’s second-ranked dual threat quarterback for the 2019 class trimmed his schools down to three with Clemson, Auburn and Ohio State as the finalists. Bo Nix threw for nearly 4,500 yards and had a 56-7 touchdown to interception ratio in 2017.
Clemson cornerback commit Kyler McMichael was named Athlete of the Year in Georgia’s region 7-3A. McMichael ran for over 1,483 yards last year for Greater Atlanta Christian.
And finally, Clemson commit Xavier Thomas was named a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Thomas is among six finalists, and the winner will be announced during the Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5.
In sum, Clemson came out a winner from the first-ever early signing day. The Tigers signed the top overall player from Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and North Carolina. No program has ever accomplished that before. Clemson continues to reload instead of rebuild, and looking at the players Dabo has signed, Clemson looks primed to build a dynasty.