Do you remember the last few years where we’ve looked on the Clemson football signing day itinerary to only see a couple of names total from inside the state? Well, that could be about to change.
The good news is that Clemson football has been able to expand itself to a national brand and the Tigers have won recruiting battles with prospects from all over the country, including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and California, just to name a few.
But there’s still no doubt that Clemson wants to have in-state products. The Tigers want to have players on their roster that come from the state of South Carolina and who can make an impact. Unfortunately, there just haven’t been many of those guys.
Here’s a look at the past few recruiting cycles and how many 4-stars and 5-stars were from the state of South Carolina. (These are according to the 247 Sports’ Composite Player Rankings):
- 2015: 5 (1 in-state commit who was 4-stars or higher)
- 2016: 6 (3 in-state commits who were 4-stars or higher)
- 2017: 4 (1 in-state commit who was 4-stars or higher)
- 2018: 6 (3 in-state commits who were 4-stars or higher)
- 2019: 3 (no in-state commits who were 4-stars or higher)
- 2020: 5 (no in-state commits who were 4-stars or higher)
- 2021: 2 (no in-state commits who were 4-stars or higher)
So, for those keeping tally: Clemson football has had eight commits of 4-stars or higher from the state of South Carolina in the last seven recruiting cycles
Most of those 4-stars have gone to South Carolina and a few have gone to places like Georgia and North Carolina, and one thing has become apparent before we continue: Clemson clearly doesn’t need the state to be good to win National Championships.
The Tigers have been involved in national recruiting battles and they’ve intentionally not spent much time targeting some in-state products in the past. The vast majority of in-state products that Clemson wanted, Clemson has gotten. There are a couple of exceptions- like Jordan Burch, for example- but that pretty much remains the rule.
When there’s a battle between the Tigers and Gamecocks, Clemson wins 95 percent of the time.
That being said, this 2022 recruiting class is a little different.
While South Carolina is involved in plenty of recruiting battles within the state, we’ve got major college football programs like Florida, Alabama and Georgia coming into the state and seeking the talent.
The state of South Carolina has six prospects listed as 4-stars currently and there’s a chance that a couple more could become 4-stars before it’s all said and done. Clemson is firmly entrenched in battles for three of them and the Tigers have already locked up commitments from two of them.
4-star WR Adam Randall and 4-star OL Collin Sadler have already committed to the Tigers.
Who are the others Clemson is heavily targeting? 4-star CB Jeadyn Lukus (the No. 1 player in the state), 4-star TE Jaleel Skinner and 4-star WR Antonio Williams.
While Williams has yet to be offered by Clemson, he and the Tigers stay in frequent contact and he has been heavily interested in Clemson since the beginning.
As far as the other two are concerned, you would paint Lukus as a heavy Clemson football lean but the Tigers have to close out, and we actually consider Skinner- who is being heavily recruited by Alabama, as well- to be a lean to Florida.
If everything went as planned, though, the Tigers could walk away with potentially five commits from inside the state who are 4-stars or higher. That would be five more than they had in each of the last three recruiting cycles combined.
As we’ve said, Clemson doesn’t need the state to be good but it sure does make things easier. It will be interesting to see how these recruitments play out and what the Tigers’ final commit list looks like when it’s all said and done.