Summer camp's role evolving in accelerating football recruiting timetable

With 18 commitments already in hand for 2015, Clemson coaching looking to the future as high school players arrivel

Over 700 athletes attended Dabo Swinney's 2013 second session high school football camp

Photo by Mark Crammer

Over 700 athletes attended Dabo Swinney's 2013 second session high school football camp

As recently as three cycles ago, recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott described summer camp season as the keystone event in Clemson's football recruiting year.

If the coaching staff could get next year's prospects on campus for an extended two or three-day stay, Clemson's chances of securing a commitment and subsequent signing were enhanced dramatically.

Dabo Swinney's annual high school camp still plays an important part in the Tigers' recruiting effort, but that part isn't the same as it once was.

As the recruiting timetable accelerates, perhaps soon bringing an early signing period along with it, summer camp has become more of a long-range than immediate results-oriented event.

Numerically, the lion's share of Division 1 prospects who'll attend all or part of two sessions this week will be 2016, 2017 and even 2018 targets.

Meanwhile, in Clemson's case, most of the committing has already taken place.

How significant is the difference?

In June, 2010, Clemson went into camp week with four commitments for its eventual 29-man 2011 recruiting class. A year later, the Tigers had six commitments when camp began. And last year at this time, there were seven players on board.

Clemson's current list of 18 commitments for its 2015 class surpasses the June total for the previous three years.

That doesn't mean that the upcoming week isn't important to this year's effort. It does mean that the 2015 attendees will get plenty of attention from the coaches.

Headlining the list of uncommitted 2015 targets who'll be on campus at some point this week include five-star defensive end Tim Settle of Manassas, Virginia; defensive end Austin Bryant of Thomasville, Georgia; defensive back Antonio Parks of Reserve, Louisiana; offensive lineman Zack Bailey of Summerville, South Carolina; running back/receiver Ray Ray McCloud of Tampa, Florida; and wide receiver Markevious Adams of Greenwood, South Carolina.

Others may show up as well, as the week unfolds.

Also visiting will be more than half, at least, of the Tigers' group of 2015 commitments, including quarterback Tucker Israel of Orlando, Florida; linebacker Chad Smith of Sterling, Virginia; wide receiver Shadell Bell of Decatur, Georgia; wide receiver Deon Cain of Tampa, Florida; offensive lineman Jake Fruhmorgen of Tampa, Florida; offensive lineman Zach Giella of Martinez, Georgia; offensive lineman Noah Green of Boiling Springs, South Carolina; defensive back Kaleb Chalmers of Greenwood, South Carolina; and defensive tackles Sterling Johnson of Cleveland, North Carolina and Gage Cervenka of Greenwood, South Carolina.

With 18 commitments in hand, Clemson's coaches are about three-fourths of the way to assembling a projected 25-man class that will sign in February, 2015.

The Tigers' class is as heavy on quality as it is on quantity. Clemson's group of commitments is ranked second nationally by both Rivals and 247Sports and in the top five by Scout and ESPN, while the Tigers' average star rating stands at 3.5 on Rivals' list, which ranks ninth among the overall top 25.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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