Swinney, staff nearly halfway home to another elite recruiting class

The Clemson Sports Blog

Jake Fruhmorgen (Photo courtesy of Roy Philpott, CUTigers.com)

Jake Fruhmorgen (Photo courtesy of Roy Philpott, CUTigers.com)

Recruiting numbers are slippery creatures, both those that dictate the size of a particular class, and those that describe the quality class in relation to other teams.

A year ago, Jeff Scott and the Tigers started out with a working number of 14 for Clemson's 2014 class. Through attrition and early departures, it swelled to 20, and the coach staff still ended up borrowing a couple of spots from 2015 in grayshirt linebackers J.D. and Judah Davis.

On this year's signing day, Dabo Swinney estimated that Clemson would sign another "normal sized" recruiting class of 20-25 in 2015, with heavy emphasis on the offensive and defensive lines.

Going into the Orange-White spring game weekend, which also serves as the Tigers' third 'junior day' of the spring, Clemson sits with 10 commitments for it 2015 class and enjoys considerable momentum thanks to Thursday's commitments from offensive tackle Jake Fruhmorgen of Tampa, Fla., and outside linebacker Chad Smith of Sterling, Va.

With another couple of commitments possible this weekend, the Tigers could go into the month of May halfway home in assembling its 2015 class.

By all indications, it's going to be another good one - one of the best in the nation, in fact.

Clemson class rankings currently range from No. 6 (Scout) to No. 12 (ESPN).

With few exceptions, the individual player rankings are all over the map.

Three out of four lists (Scout, ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports) have offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt ranked No. 1 at his position, and all list Fruhmorgen as one of the nation's top 10 offensive tackles.

On the other hand, quarterback Tucker Israel is unranked by Rivals and Scout, but is rated the No. 6 dual threat quarterback in the nation by ESPN.

Wide receiver Shadell Bell is ranked as low as No. 55, by Scout, and as high as No. 10, by ESPN.

Van Smith is ranked as the No. 19 'athlete' by 247Sports, the No. 20 safety by Scout, and the No. 24 running back ESPN.

In the team rankings, Scout ranks Clemson sixth, Rivals and 247Sports seventh, and ESPN 12th, though the ESPN list hasn't been updated to include Chad Smith.

The various top 10 include many of the usual suspects, plus a couple of teams that are making resurgences.

Scout puts Texas A&M the top of its list, followed by Penn State, Alabama, LSU, Texas, Clemson, Florida State, West Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Rivals puts Alabama at the top of its list, followed by Texas A&M, Penn State, LSU, Tennessee, FSU, Clemson, Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas.

247Sports also ranks Alabama first, with Texas A&M and Penn State second and third.

ESPN has Penn State at the top, followed by West Virginia, LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama. Clemson is 12th, one spot ahead of Miami.

It all adds up to another banner year for Dabo Swinney and his coaching staff, as they fill needs and build for the future.

Keep a close eye on the defensive line as we move into summer. Dan Brooks said on signing day that the Tigers would like to bring in 4-5 defensive linemen, either ends or tackles, and they currently have none committed.

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