Countdown to Signing Day: Tigers take top-20 class into final stretch

Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney talks about the 23 players during a press conference about the 2013 signing class on National Signing Day, at the team room in the West end zone.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney talks about the 23 players during a press conference about the 2013 signing class on National Signing Day, at the team room in the West end zone.

One major deadline has passed and another one is on its way.

Vic Beasley's back, while Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Bashaud Breeland joined a talented outgoing senior class NFL-bound.

Coinciding with the early-entry mark is the end of the recruiting "dead period," signaling a near free-for-all up to National Signing Day on Feb. 5.

This time last year Clemson had 15 commits and ranked outside of the top-25 in both Rivals and 247Sports' team rankings. Jeff Scott and co. finished strong adding eight more pledges for a third-consecutive year with a top-15 class.

A 2013-esque push isn't expected, however, with "really tight" numbers this time around. By one calculation, they essentially have 15 scholarships to give currently for the next cycle, which will certainly not be the case by the summer.

The Tigers have 18 commits on board, including five already on campus (four of their top-five prospects too). How does that stack up against the competition?

Top ACC/2014 Competition in ’14 rankings…

FSU: Avg. team ranking* – 3.3. Four-star or higher commits – 15 (Top-100s: 6). Commits total – 29.

Miami: Avg. ranking – 8.7. Four-star or higher commits – 14 (Top-100s: 4). Commits total – 26.

Georgia: Avg. ranking – 10.7. Four-star or higher commits – 13 (Top-100s: 5). Commits total – 16.

Clemson: Avg. ranking – 18.7. Four-star or higher commits – 12 (Top-100s: 4). Commits total – 18.

UNC: Avg. ranking – 25.3. Four-star or higher commits – 6 (Top-100s: 2). Commits total – 21.

South Carolina: Avg. ranking – 25.7. Four-star or higher commits – 9 (Top-100s: 1). Commits total – 17.

(* Factors Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN's ranking. Scout isn't included because they don't have all of the prep school signees factored in. For example, Clemson's Kyrin Priester, who's rated the top prep school WR by Rivals and 247).

Year-to-year rankings only go so far as teams have different needs to fill and number strategies, but they are pretty much in line with recent years.

By 247's composite ranks, Florida State's last three classes have a No. 5 average, while Georgia (8) and Clemson (13) are top-15 as well. Al Golden and Miami are continuing their post-probation rise with a top-20 three-year mark (19). Virginia Tech (26), Virginia (26) and UNC (30) round out the ACC teams in the top-30.

Instate rival South Carolina is a little off their their steady top-20 run currently, where they averaged the 18th-best rank in the last three cycles and slightly better than that from 2007-12.

Back to '14, Alabama's continuing its dominance on the trail, pacing a group with Ohio State, Texas A&M and LSU holding a 90-plus average class via 247's composite.

By the same standard, ACC foes outside the top-30 include N.C. State (34), Pittsburgh (40), Louisville (44), Boston College (45), Georgia Tech (49), Maryland (52), Duke (56), Syracuse (58) and Wake Forest (69).

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Comments » 9

richardcd writes:

The overall ranking is not so important. What is important is that Clemson has 66% Four-star or higher. Florida State has only about 52% Four-star or higher.

lhaselden writes:

One key to Clemson's success will be the number of Seniors starting on the team.
This year there were 4 O, 3 D, 2 ST.

Xander5000 writes:

The way things pan out 50% of the time is that these star ratings are not always accurate. A 5-star may be a complete bust on another team and a 3-star could be the best thing that has happend to that program in double digit years. Its about coaching....coach and player understanding....coach and player motivation....sometimes offensive and defensive schemes, but all in all pure flat out coaching.

lhaselden writes:

Steward was a 5 star, Shuey was a 3 star ... and Steward could not beat him out. Shuey red shirted and worked his tail off... a 5 star in his 3rd year did not beat out the red shirt senior that started as a 3 star.

radtiger writes:

in response to richardcd:

The overall ranking is not so important. What is important is that Clemson has 66% Four-star or higher. Florida State has only about 52% Four-star or higher.

I hope the higher percentage of 4 star players dont have you thinking we stand a chance on beating Florida State...You will be in for a rude awakening....

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

If team A has 14 four star recruits and team B has 6 four star recruits, 95% of the time team A will be a much better team than team B. That is fact not something I just made up. Check the records of teams that recruit a bunch of 4 star guys versus a team that doesn't and see who's the best team. On fairly rare occasions a top recruit will not pan out for one reason or another but generally speaking the more stars the better player you are throughout your college career.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

Here is an up to date list of Clemson’s 2014 recruiting class ranked by ESPN. These are top 100 players coming out of high school and their ranking. These are all committed to Clemson and some are signed and in school. There is a lot of top talent still up for grabs. Here’s who we have to date:

Kendall Joseph #18 inside Linebacker, Jabrill Robinson #82 defensive tackle, Taylor Hearn #35 offensive guard, Korie Rogers #14 outside linebacker, Chris Register #28 outside linebacker, Justin Falcinecci #27 offensive tackle, Deshaun Watson #1 dual threat quarterback, Jaylon Ogeslby #19 running back, Adam Choice #23 running back, C.J. Fuller #39 running back, Jeff Gibson #33 safety, Milan Richard #2 TE-Y, Artavia Scott #9 WR, Darmarie Kitt #22 WR

This is 15 already coming and a lot left to get if we can. This is a good recruiting class by anyone’s opinion.

AFTiger87 writes:

in response to Xander5000:

The way things pan out 50% of the time is that these star ratings are not always accurate. A 5-star may be a complete bust on another team and a 3-star could be the best thing that has happend to that program in double digit years. Its about coaching....coach and player understanding....coach and player motivation....sometimes offensive and defensive schemes, but all in all pure flat out coaching.

More often than not they're fairly correct, not always, but usually. You're correct about the coaching aspect of it. A really good coach can take a 3 star and turn him into a pretty good player with time. The stars are based on how quickly they can contribute on the field.

TigerNE writes:

in response to AFTiger87:

More often than not they're fairly correct, not always, but usually. You're correct about the coaching aspect of it. A really good coach can take a 3 star and turn him into a pretty good player with time. The stars are based on how quickly they can contribute on the field.

It's all unreliable given all the factors involved. Did UCF have equal or better recruits over the past, say, 4 years than Baylor did?

Few conclusions can be made that are absolutely accurate when looking at players and recruiting classes within a decent ratings range. Across huge gaps, sure, some generalizations probably hold true. Mostly.

But a class that rates #5 in somebody's "ranking" is probably not much different from one that rates #14 by the same system. Teams that consistently recruit top players have better odds at winning more often. But they are far from unbeatable. Bama is the prime example. They kill in recruiting year in and year out. But a greater number of factors play a role in performance and outcome than just arbitrary ratings while in high school.

It takes good coaching like you say, but it also takes maturity on the players part. And it takes the proper complement of team mates. So often we ask, how good would QB-1 be without WR-2?, etc.

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