Within the next year, Dabo Swinney has a chance to do something he has never done before – sign the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.
Even though Clemson has enjoyed eight consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins, has reached four consectuive College Football Playoffs and won two of the past three national championships, the Tigers have never finished better than No. 7 in the recruiting rankings during the Swinney era, according to the 247Sports composite.
For the most par, throughout the past 10 seasons, Clemson has prided itself on doing more with less when it comes to recruiting. The Tigers have always signed solid and respected classes with a handful of elite prospects – Sammy Watkins, Deshaun Watson, Christian Wilkins and Trevor Lawrence come to mind – but have never been able to lock down a Top 5 class, much less the No. 1 class in the country.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney at the Tiger Walk before the Spring Game at Memorial Stadium Saturday, April 6, 2019. (Photo: MATT BURKHARTT/Staff)
That could change very soon. The 2020 recruiting class has the potential to be not only the best class that Dabo Swinney has ever signed at Clemson, but the best class in the country and possibly, one of the best classes in the history of college football.
Right now, Clemson is No. 3 in the 2020 rankings, behind Alabama and LSU. However, the Tigers rank No. 1 in average rating per recruit, as their 11 commits have an average rating of 94.73.
The Tigers have commitments from three Top 50 prospects, according to the 247Sports composite – Fred Davis II, RJ Mickens and Demonte Capehart – all four-star defensive players. Clemson is also in the mix with six other Top 50 players, including the No. 1 player in the country, Bryan Bresee.
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Bresee, who will announce his decision Tuesday, has been described almost universally as an incredibly special prospect. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound five-star defensive lineman has drawn comparisons to former Clemson star Christian Wilkins as well as NFL star Ndamukong Suh and can play both inside and outside on the defensive line. All signs points to Bresee, a Damascus, Maryland native, committing to Clemson on Tuesday. This would be a huge pick up for the Tigers.
Tight end Milan Richard, left, smiles with Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins during Clemson Pro Day at the Poe Indoor Facility in Clemson, S.C. Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo: Ken Ruinard / staff)
Two other five-star prospects to keep an eye on for Clemson are D.J. Uiagalelei, the No.1 quarterback in the 2020 class and No. 6-ranked player overall, and Demarkcus Bowman, the No. 3 running back in the class and No. 20 prospect overall.
Uiagalelei, who is from Bellflower, California, spent four days visiting Clemson over the Tigers’ spring game weekend. The quarterback just visited Oregon last weekend for its spring game, and his choice appears to be between the Tigers and the Ducks. Uiagalelei will announce his decision May 5.
Five-star running back Demarkcus Bowman is another prospect who Clemson is heavily focused on signing. The Lakeland, Florida, native was favoring Florida early in his recruiting process but recently told Anna Hickey of 247Sports that Clemson is now his standalone leader after visiting campus in March.
If the Tigers can find a way to sign Bresee, Uiagalelei and Bowman, they will ink three of the top 20 players in this year’s recruiting class. Clemson is also currently in the mix with defensive ends Jordan Burch and Myles Murphy, both top 20 players.
Of course, there is still so much to be decided between now and the 2020 early signing period in December. However, as it currently stands, Clemson has a chance to sign a class unlike any it has ever signed before.
Swinney has won two of the past three national championships without signing a Top 5 recruiting class. Imagine what he can do with the best class in the nation.
Kelly Gramlich can be heard from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Out of Bounds” with William Qualkinbush on WCCP 105.5 The Roar. Find her on Twitter (@kellygramlich).