Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Team Recruiting Countdown: No. 9 Clemson Tigers

No. 9 Clemson Tigers (ACC No. 2)

2008 Haul: 26 signees, 4 Athlon Consensus 100

Scouting Report:

When Tommy Bowden and staff sat down last season and pinpointed their top recruiting targets for the 2008 class, a defensive end from Bamberg, S.C. was likely the name at the top of the board. DaQuan Bowers is the top defensive prospect in the nation, trailing only Terrelle Pryor and Julio Jones in the Athlon Consensus 100. The Tigers got their guy and he is the cornerstone of this great Clemson class.

It seems every off-season Clemson loses four offensive lineman to graduation. The Tigers had to replace four starters heading into the ’07 season and have again lost four senior lineman. Tommy Bowden did a great job of adding depth to the offensive line landing four talented blockers. In-state, he landed the big Kenneth Page (Columbia, S.C.) and Dalton Freeman (Pelion, S.C.). He also dipped into the heart of Crimson Tide country and snagged Antoine McClain (Anniston, Ala.). McClain is a versatile prospect that could play anywhere along the line and is best of the group.

This 2008 class is balanced with solid talent at nearly every position. The Tigers did not land a large number of any one position (defensive back had the most) but the ones they did get are of high quality.

The offensive skill position players really illustrate this point. Clemson landed two quarterbacks but Kyle Parker (Jacksonville, Fla.) – a Todd Reesing look-a-like – will challenge Willy Korn for playing time once Cullen Harper departs.

Only two running backs are headed to Clemson but both are wonderfully talented. Jamie Harper (Jacksonville, Fla.) is the No. 3 running back prospect in the nation and Andre Ellington (Moncks Corner, S.C.) showed great speed and open field agility at the Under Armour Classic. These two will be the next James Davis-C.J. Spiller combo out of the backfield.

The pass catching recruits are the same story. Only two wide receivers and one tight end head to Death Valley in ’08 but they are good. Brandon Ford (Hanahan, S.C) and Marquan Jones (Blythewood, S.C.) will pick up where Aaron Kelly and Jacoby Ford leave off. Dwayne Allen (Fayetteville, N.C.) will be a great all-around tight end. Clemson stole Allen away from Georgia shortly before Signing Day.

If there is one position that Clemson made sure to add depth to, it was the defensive backfield. The Tigers landed five prospects including star safety Spencer Adams (Matthews, N.C.) and sleeper corner Xavier Brewer (Jacksonville, Fla.).

The Tigers also lose two starting linebackers in Nick Watkins and Tremaine Billie. Jonathan Willard (Loris, S.C.), Tarik Rollins (Hollywood, Fla.) and Stanley Hunter (Duncan, S.C.) will add needed depth to the linebacking corp.

Sitting right next to the state of Georgia and within a few hours from Florida, Clemson has some nice built in recruiting territories. The Tiger staff certainly did well in the surrounding areas landing nine kids from Florida and three from Georgia. The Jacksonville area was particularly kind to Clemson, sending five prospects from the city to the ACC program.

Bowden also took advantage of a strong year in-state and landed 10 home grown prospects including big names like Bowers, Page, Ford and Ellington.

Top Prospect: DaQuan Bowers – DE – Bamberg, S.C. (6-4, 260) AC100 No. 4

The big defensive end is lightning quick off the snap. When he fires off low he gets so much momentum around the corner it is incredibly hard to keep him out of the backfield. He also has a strong motor and never stops attacking. His game is very loud — a nice way to say he destroys people.

He could use some work on his technique when playing with a lot of debris at his feet. If offensive lines are smart they will attack his legs. He can be overpowered on the end by bigger offensive tackles. Added weight will help remedy this. He is such an incredible athlete that, with strong coaching, Bowers could be the next in a run of great defensive end prospects at Clemson (Gaines Adams, Phillip Merling etc.)

Bowers, with weight, could end up inside at tackle also. With a 25-30 pound bump, he would be a dynamic tackle prospect who could play all three downs.

Best of the Rest:

Jamie Harper – RB – Jacksonville, Fla. (6-0, 215) AC100 No. 49
Brandon Thompson – DT – Thomasville, Ga. (6-2, 295) AC100 No. 81
Antoine McClain – OL – Anniston, Ala. (6-6, 320) AC100 No. 93
Andre Ellington – RB – Moncks Corner, S.C. (5-10, 175)
Dwayne Allen – TE – Fayetteville, N.C. (6-4, 245)
Kyle Parker – QB – Jacksonville, Fla. (6-0, 195)
Spencer Adams – S – Matthews, N.C. (6-2, 190)
Kenneth Page – OL – Columbia, S.C. (6-4, 290)
Brandon Ford – WR – Hanahan, S.C. (6-4, 208)
Dalton Freeman – OL – Pelion, S.C. (6-6, 280)

Sleeper: Xavier Brewer – CB – Jacksonville, Fla. (5-10, 175)

Aggressive. That is the best term used to describe Xavier Brewer. He plays a fast, attacking style of football. He shows great quickness and fluidity, especially getting into and out of his breaks. He has all the tools to be a lockdown corner but what makes Brewer special is his ability to play the run. He fills hard and with complete disregard for his body.

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