With the end of the regular season, recruiting has shifted into high gear for Clemson's football coaches, who will be on the road making visits for most of the next three weeks.
The Tigers currently have 16 players committed for their class of 2013, following the recent de-commitment of Grayson High (Loganville, Ga.) teammates Robert Nkemdiche and David Kamara, and Clemson's decision to drop Elijah Daniel from its recruiting board.
The Tigers are still in the hunt for Nkemdiche - the nation's overall No. 1 prospect - and Kamara, who since de-committing has been back on campus for back-to-back visits, accompanied by teammate Ryan Carter, a defensive back who continues to be a player of interest to Clemson.
Five of Clemson's 2013 commitments are on track to join the Tigers in January - defensive end Shaq Lawson and defensive back Cordrea Tankersley from Hargrave Military Academy, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson from Peach County, Ga., tight end Jordan Leggett from Navarre, Fla., and defensive back Jadar Johnson, from Orangeburg, S.C.
Clemson's committed players are currently ranked 15th nationally by ESPN, 16th by 247Sports, and 18th by Scout and Rivals.
Heading into December, there's still a lot on the table for the Clemson coaches. Setting aside Nkemdiche and Kamara for a moment, here's a look at seven prospects who could help make Dabo Swinney's recruiting season something special.
1. Montravius Adams: The Tigers' two losses this fall came against teams with dominant defensive lines - a common denominator for national title contenders. At 6-3, 290 pounds, and ranked as the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle, Adams more than fits the bill. He got his first scholarship offer from Clemson a year and a half ago, and since then the Tigers have remained among his leaders. Just about everybody in the country has now offered the Dooly County, Ga. star. He spent several days in Clemson last summer, and was back on campus for the N.C. State and South Carolina games. Clemson and Auburn are the favorites, with Georgia pushing hard.
2. Mackensie Alexander: Clemson is looking for a talent upgrade in its defensive secondary, and - after finishing second to FSU for Ronald Darby last year and to Virginia Tech for Kendall Fuller this cycle - has another shot at an elite player in Alexander, a five-star corner from Immokalee, Fla. who is ranked as the nation's No. 6 overall prospect and No. 2 corner by ESPN. Alexander made an official visit to Clemson for homecoming weekend and was favorably impressed. He's long claimed Clemson as one of his favorites and has closely followed the progress of Sammy Watkins and 2013 commitment Jayron Kearse, who he's played against in high school.
3. Carl Lawson: Ranked as the nation's No. 2 defensive end behind Nkemdiche, the Alpharetta, Ga. star has been committed to Auburn since last March, but visited Clemson for the South Carolina game, along with Adams and fellow defensive end target Ebenezer Ogundeko. His dad played fullback on Georgia Tech's 1990 national championship team. Auburn's downturn and instability probably enhances Clemson's chances.
4. Tramel Terry: Widely regarded as the state of South Carolina's top player for the 2013 cycle, the Goose Creek High star in a long-time commitment to Georgia, but that hasn't deterred Clemson's staff from working hard to sway a player they consider a perfect fit for the Tiger' offense as a running back/wide receiver hybrid. Terry was on campus numerous times during the fall, and Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy believes the Tigers still have a good shot.
5. Ebenezer Ogundeko: A late addition to Clemson's wish list at defensive end, the Brooklyn, N.Y. standout made an official visit for the South Carolina game. He's rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and a three-star recruit by Scout, and is widely considered to be the state of New York's top prospect for 2013. Ogundeko has recorded 28 sacks over the past two seasons. He lists Clemson and Florida as his favorites and also plans to visit Syracuse.
6. Marquez North: One of the nation's top-rated wide receivers, the Charlotte, N.C. (Mallard Creek) star still has Clemson among his leaders, along with North Carolina and Tennessee. He has maintained a low public profile throughout the recruiting process, and is expected to announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5. He made an unofficial visit to Clemson for the South Carolina game.
7. Tyrone Crowder: In terms of numbers, the offensive line is not one of Clemson's priority areas for 2013, but the Tiger coaches jumped in early and will be there for the long haul in pursuit of Crowder, a Rockingham, N.C. native who's ranked among the top 10 offensive guards in the nation. It's looking like a Clemson-Georgia-North Carolina battle down the stretch. Like Adams, Lawson, North and Ogundeko, he visited Clemson last weekend.