2013 shaping up as the 'Year of the Tiger' in the recruiting hotbed of Georgia

Half of Clemson's group of 14 commitments come from the Peach State, and the Tiger coaching staff isn't finished

Elbert County's Tyshon Dye runs after making a catch against North Oconee.

Elbert County's Tyshon Dye runs after making a catch against North Oconee.

It might be a stretch, or perhaps a bit premature, to declare 2013 the Year of the Tiger in the state of Georgia.

Might...or perhaps.

On the other hand, a strong recruiting foothold in one of the nation's richest recruiting grounds is worth celebrating now, just as it was back in the 80s, when the Tigers built their recruiting foundation in the Peach State.

Of Clemson's current group of 14 commitments for its class of 2013, seven come from Georgia.

The crown jewel is defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of Loganville, the nation's No. 1 overall recruit. But he has plenty of elite-level company, and not just from his Grayson High teammates, defensive back David Kamara and running back Wayne Gallman, who are ranked among the state's best at their position.

Last weekend, two players at the top of Clemson's recruiting wish list - running back Tyshon Dye of nearby Elberton and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson of Fort Valley - declared themselves for the Tigers over offers from a southeastern Who's Who.

Two weeks earlier, the Tigers picked up a commitment from another of the state's top receivers in Ryan Jenkins of Marietta, the brother of Clemson junior cornerback Martin Jenkins. His other finalist? Oklahoma State.

And back during Dabo Swinney's high school camp in June, the Tigers plucked a high-potential offensive lineman, Maverick Morris, from off-the-beaten path Coffee County High in south Georgia.

It has been repeatedly noted that Clemson's surge in Georgia marks a turnaround.

And while it's true that Swinney's staff was shut out in the state last cycle, that occurrence may be more of an aberration than this year's feast.

Last signing day, Swinney was asked about Clemson's Georgia goose-egg, and he pointed out that the Tiger staff had worked as hard as ever in the Peach State and was in the hunt for some of the state's top players. But with class numbers limited, Clemson simply 'filled up' at certain positions and backed off otherwise signing-worthy prospects.

When he look over as Clemson's head coach midway through the 2008 season, Swinney stated that re-establishing a strong recruiting presence in Georgia would be one of his top priorities.

Seven of Clemson's coaches have territory in Georgia, with a special emphasis on the Atlanta suburbs, which are turning out impressive numbers of high-level recruits.

So Clemson's bounty-in-progress is part of Swinney's plan - another area in which the coach gets high marks three-plus years into his tenure.

The Tigers, of course, aren't quite finished in Georgia for 2013.

They've been in the lead group from the get-go for the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle, Montravius Adams of Dooly County - a mountain of a young man with an NFL-ready body and the quickness that enabled him to make than half his plays in the opponent's backfield during his junior season.

Clemson delivered him his first offer more than a year ago.

And sometimes, when all else is equal, being first ends up tipping the scale.

So stay tuned as the summer and fall progresses. The excitement surrounding Clemson football may not be limited to the field, and the state of Georgia may turn out to be an even bigger part of it.

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Comments » 1

MoncksTater writes:

Pagano and Adams for the next 3 years at the DT ? Yeah ... better run for the sidelines...

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