Time is ticking towards decisions that can change the face of a program’s future in an instant.
The Signing Day announcements the Tigers are watching certainly fit the bill, with a five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams and four-stars, cornerback Mackensie Alexander and offensive guard Tyrone Crowder atop the list.
From early A.M. Wednesday to Crowder’s 4:05 p.m. ESPNU announcement – coaches, fans and the media will be joined at the hip with their phones and computers (…and be sure to check out OrangeandWhite.com for all-day coverage starting bright and early).
Two years ago, Clemson landed four last-day signees for Dabo Swinney's top class, in five-star linebackers Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony, along with offensive guard Spencer Region and defensive end Roderick Byers. In 2012, there were more misses (4-star LB Reggie Northrup and DB Ronald Darby picking FSU) than hits (3-star DT D.J. Reader).
The Tigers enter the madness that is signing day this time around with a top-20 ranked class, looking to jump into the top-10 or 15 range. It’s prediction time and I'm looking at three sites’ picks here overall, Rivals’ panel of experts, 247Sports’ predictions here and SB Nation, in addition to stepping out on the limb myself (times are A.M. unless otherwise noted):
5-star DT Montravius Adams (Announcement – 9:45 ET, ESPNU)
He’s the big one, both in stature (6-3 290) and importance to the Tigers’ 2013 class, but Adams' situation has taken a turn just in the last week, after a weekend visit to Auburn.
Predictions: Rivals: Auburn (Mike Farrell); 247Sports: Auburn;
Gut-Feel Pick: Auburn – Clemson has been in with Adams from the beginning, and the widely-reported favorite up until Monday really, which would make the ACC Tigers' swing-and-a-miss sting. But it isn't looking good now.
4-star CB Mackensie Alexander (10:00 ET, ESPNU)
Alexander is the mystery man, with the distinction by Rivals’ Mike Farrell of being the most likely Signing Day “circus.” Nobody, coach and reporter alike, seems to have an idea where he might go. SB Nation went as far as saying “college coaches are frustrated dealing with him.” What hurts Clemson is defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison switching Tiger sides back in December, but Brent Venables is personally handling his recruitment.
Predictions: Rivals: 5-of-8 experts pick Auburn/3-of-8 pick Clemson; 247Sports: Mississippi State/Auburn; SB Nation: Auburn.
Gut-Feel Pick: Clemson – Just from reading profiles like this and this, Clemson and Auburn make sense. Alexander would have a chance to play early at either school, but with Harbison now on the Plains, that could be the tipping point. That said, the school with the lake has to take one of these battles, right? Alexander is a true Signing Day coin flip and would be a big, big get for Venables' D.
4-star OG Tyrone Crowder (4:05 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
The Scout top-100 prospect is down to Georgia and Clemson, with 247Sports saying it’s “all Clemson.”
Predictions: Rivals: Clemson; 247Sports: Clemson; SB Nation: Clemson.
Gut-Feel Pick: Clemson – Seems like it would be a shock if Crowder didn’t send a fax Swinney’s way on Wednesday.
3-star CB Adrian Baker (10:45 ET)
Baker decides between Clemson and Oklahoma on Wednesday, and hasn’t given much away on where he’s leaning.
Gut-Feel Pick: Clemson – Baker was an FSU commit and decommitted when much of the Florida State staff turned over in December. TigerTown seems like the best fit for him, in what could be a late talent surge in the 2013 class secondary.
4-star S Korrin Wiggins (9:30 ET)
Wiggins reopened his recruitment early last month and by all accounts had a good visit to Clemson, with Ohio State also in the running and a last-minute visit to Georgia Tech over the weekend, but all has been pretty quiet on this front of late.
Gut-Feel Pick: UNC – Maybe he’s an out-of-nowhere flip, but it looks like the Tar Heels hang on here.
Bonus Recent Targets/Former Commitments/Notable ACC
4-star WR James Clark: SBN – Florida; 247Sports – Florida/Ohio State.
4-star QB Asiantii Woulard: SBN – UCLA; 247Sports – UCLA.
5-star DE Robert Nkemdiche: Unanimous – Ole Miss.
4-star DE: Elijah Daniel: Rivals – 7-of-8 Ole Miss/1-of-8 Auburn; SBN – Ole Miss.
5-star LB Matthew Thomas: SBN – FSU; Rivals – 5/8 say Miami, 3/8 say FSU; 247Sports – FSU/Miami.
5-star CB Jalen Ramsey: SBN – FSU; Rivals – 5/8 say FSU, 2/8 say Southern Cal;