Countdown to Signing Day: Clemson, area schools positioning for strong finish

The Clemson Sports Blog

Immokalee's Mackensie Alexander runs during his team's 29-21 Florida 5A semifinal victory over Jackson on Friday (Photo courtesy of Andrew Bosch, Naples News).

Immokalee's Mackensie Alexander runs during his team's 29-21 Florida 5A semifinal victory over Jackson on Friday (Photo courtesy of Andrew Bosch, Naples News).

One week from today, we once again become familiar with fax machines, waiting intently on news of National Letters of Intent rolling in.

For Clemson and several more schools, all eyes will be on announcements at schools and television studios, waiting intently on prospects wearing the right hat.

Seven days to Signing Day, the Tigers are inside Rivals’ top-25 (21) and as of today, Scout’s (18), with the highest average ranking in the ACC (19.5), ahead of Pittsburgh (22.5), Florida State (24) and Virginia Tech (24.5) between the two services.

But along with FSU, Clemson is in the running to shoot up those rankings down the stretch. Looking at the elite prospects the Tigers and Seminoles, and top non-conference opponents South Carolina and Georgia are after...

Top-100 targets that could be Tigers: At Rivals – No. 1 weakside defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga.), No. 3 defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga.), No. 7 DB Mackensie Alexander (Immokalee, Fla.); At Scout – No. 4 OG Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C.).

Rivals Top-100 targets that could be Seminoles: No. 1 OT Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla.), No. 2 OLB Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla.), No. 4 OLB Yannick Ngakoue (D.C.).

Rivals Top-100 targets that could be Gamecocks: No. 4 OLB Yannick Ngakoue (D.C.).

Rivals Top-100 targets that could be Bulldogs: No. 1 ILB Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala.), No. 1 OT Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla.), No. 2 OLB Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla.), No. 2 RB Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga.), No. 3 DT Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga.).

Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles have been in the news of late – first, losing top recruiter and offensive coordinator James Coley to rival Miami, and consequently, losing on the recruiting trail.

No. 8 offensive tackle Austin Golson decommited this week after a year of being an FSU commit, with Ole Miss now in the running.

Three-star DE/OLB commit Davin Bellamy first named Georgia as his leader after visiting Athens last weekend, while still committed to the 'Noles, then decommitted Tuesday night.

The sense is the OLB Thomas is the most likely to land in Tallahassee, locked in a battle with Miami. South Carolina might have the upper hand on them with the other OLB Ngakoue (Maryland also in the running).

Obviously, the big head-to-head of the group is Clemson and Georgia for Dooly County’s Adams. Georgia will likely sign a top-10 class anyway, but Adams combined with Crowder and maybe another group of four-stars (WR James Clark also on the board) could at least clinch a top-15 class for the Tigers. Steal away Carl Lawson from Auburn (visits with Clemson, Tennessee and Auburn leading up to NSD), along with those, and top-10 is in sight.

The landscape, team by team and conference

Touched on it above a bit, Clemson leads the ACCers in top-25 average, with Pittsburgh (22.5), Florida State (23.5) and Virginia Tech (24.5) also in the pack, and Virginia has a top-25 class with Rivals.

Down-state, South Carolina is behind eight SEC teams in Scout’s rankings at No. 24, and seven in Rivals’ (17). Georgia’s class is ranked ninth overall averaging the two.

Ranking Top-100 commits 4-star or better
1) Florida 4 15
3) Alabama 8 14
5) LSU 5 18
8) Texas A&M 3 15
10) Georgia 1 15
11) Ole Miss 1 8
13) Auburn 3 8
16) South Carolina 0 7
18) Virginia Tech 3 5
19) Florida State 3 8
20) Vanderbilt 0 3
21) Clemson 0 8
23) Virginia 1 3
25) Mississippi State 1 3

In Scout’s current conference rankings, the ACC is dead-last among the big five (1,787 points – SEC is No. 1 with 2,940), but has more top-100 commits (8) than the Big 12 (6).

Ranking Top-100 commits 4-star or better
4) Texas A&M 4 17
5) LSU 4 17
7) Florida 3 15
8) Georgia 3 13
9) Alabama 10 14
12) Ole Miss 2 8
16) Mississippi State 1 5
17) Pittsburgh 0 3
18) Clemson 1 8
21) Vanderbilt 0 3
24) Auburn 1 7
25) South Carolina 0 4

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