Dan Brooks targeting five defensive linemen for Clemson's 2015 recruiting class

In a potentially significant move, Tigers have extended offers to two junior college defensive linemen

Clemson football - defensive line coach Dan Brooks watches a PAW Drill

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson football - defensive line coach Dan Brooks watches a PAW Drill

Dabo Swinney says he expects to sign a "normal-sized" class of 20-25 players in 2015.

Already the Tigers have five commitments: quarterback Tucker Israel, offensive linemen Mitch Hyatt and Noah Green, linebacker Tanner Muse and defensive back Van Smith.

Clemson defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks said on signing day that the coaching staff plans to bring in five defensive linemen - tackles and ends - in the class. That means that between a fourth and a third of the remaining spots will go to the 'big nasties' up front.

How big, and how many each of tackle and end types, Brooks doesn't really care.

"We've never really set size parameters," said Brooks during a signing day interview with Clemson's official website. " Grady Jarrett is a 6-foot guy, but he's a great college football player. So it's not a size deal."

Numbers are important, however.

"We have to sign three defensive tackles in our 2015 class," Brooks said. "We didn't recruit big (in 2014) because we weren't losing anybody. We'd like to sign five defensive linemen, total, including defensive ends.

"Coach Hobby and I work so well together that we'll try to find the best five players, and then work it out where they play."

The Tigers added one defensive tackle - Jabril Robinson - and one player projected as an end - Richard Yeargin III - in their 2014 class.

In a potentially significant twist, during the past week Clemson has extended scholarship offers to a pair of junior college defensive linemen - 6-2, 310-pound D.J. Jones of East Mississippi Community College, and 6-4, 270-pound Marquavius Lewis of Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

Both players are originally from South Carolina. Jones grew up in Clemson and attended Daniel High before transferring to Carolina Academy in Greenville and then to Wren High in Piedmont.

Lewis is a Greenwood High graduate.

Both big men also have offers from many national and regional powers, including Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

What's most significant at this point is that Clemson is back in the junior college recruiting game. It's been eight years since the Tigers have signed a junior college player, due to Clemson's policy of not accepting transfer credits that don't apply directly to a major field of study.

Jones told Tiger Illustrated that new university president Jim Clements "came in, did some work, and made it happen" in regard to Clemson recruiting junior college players.

The Tigers' main focus for 2015 continues to be high school players. They've offered Rivals' top three defensive tackle prospects - five-stars Trenton Thompson of Albany, Ga., CeCe Jefferson of Glen St. Mary, Fla., and Daron Payne of Birmingham, Ala.

Clemson also has offers out to defensive tackles Shy Tuttle of Lexington, N.C., Tim Settle of Manassas, Va., Sterling Johnson of Clayton, N.C., Breiden Fehoko of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Darvin Taylor of Chester, Va.

The Tigers have an even longer list of offered defensive ends, including in-state targets Albert Huggins of Orangeburg, Michael Barnett of Ridgeville, Rasool Clemons of Aiken, and LaSamuel Davis of Bamberg.

Others include Byron Cowart of Seffner, Fla., Scott Patchan of Fairburn, Ga., Natrez Patrick of Atlanta, Ga., Chauncey Rivers of Stone Mountain, Ga., Austin Bryant of Thomasville, Ga., Jalen Dalton of Clemmons, N.C., Darian Roseboro of Lincolnton, N.C., Adam McLean of North Potomac, Md., Josh Sweat of Chesapeake, Va., and Kyle Phillips of Nashville, Tenn.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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