CB McKensie Alexander: Retooling the secondary was the first priority for Clemson, and Alexander — the No. 2 player at the position — was the big hammer in the class. Slightly undersized, he has the quickness, instincts, ball skills and elan to be a lockdown corner and should press for playing time the day he enrolls.
DE Shaq Lawson: Are there many college communities with a school such as Daniel High that seems to spit out high level prospects like sunflower seeds? Like Nuk Hopkins and Jarvis Jenkins before him, Lawson has the physical presence and skill to play early and often. His strength should be as a run stopper, but Lawson plays tall and could become a pass-rush threat as he improves his burst.
RB Tyshon Dye: Think James Davis. Like him, Dye seems to have a feel for finding a crease, the vision to elude tacklers, the quickness to slither through it then explode. Rod McDowell, D.J. Howard and Zac Brooks will have opportunities to assert themselves, and the season may begin with backs-by-committee. Once he acclimates, Dye may push them for snaps.
DB Korrin Wiggins: “Committed” to North Carolina, Wiggins visited Ohio State last fall then announced in January he would reconsider his options. Wiggins joins a deep, uber-talented class of defensive backs. At 6-1 and 190 pounds, Wiggins has the athleticism to play in space — forward and back, side to side — with the pop, ball skills and instincts to be an impact safety.
LB D.J. Greenlee: A former high school teammate of Lawson’s, Greenlee has been around the game and winning programs all of his life. The son of Larry Greenlee, Clemson’s assistant weight coach, he’ll be in an uphill mode trying to find playing time at one of the deepest positions on the roster. There’s a chance he’ll be moved to offense as a fullback/tight end.
DE Dane Rogers: His arms help him play taller than 6-2, but Rogers needs some work if he’s going to push for playing time. He possesses a good burst off the ball, according to one scouting report, and needs to work on creating separation, but he plays low and is a solid tackler, which may make him a candidate to move inside.
LB Ben Boulware: Some may argue he belongs on the “immediate help” list, but there may be seven linebackers ahead of him. There’s no doubting his football IQ, instincts and toughness. Perhaps Clemson may redshirt him unless he makes them decide they can’t keep him off the field.
DE Ebenezer Ogundeko: New York City doesn’t produce many blue-chip defensive linemen, so “Ebo” may be a rare commodity. He has the size, quickness, vision and smarts to become a quality, pass-rushing end or outside linebacker. His biggest deficiency may be the level of talent he faced.
DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss), DE Carl Lawson (Auburn), DT Montravius Adams (Auburn): At one point last fall, Clemson was on track to sign a top-five class. Nkemdiche dropped out when his mom came home from Nigeria. Lawson and Adams continued to string them along until the last couple weeks.
South Carolina 7; Georgia 5; Florida 4; North Carolina 3; Alabama 1; Hawaii 1; Maryland 1; New York 1
Defensive back: 8; defensive ends: 3; linebacker: 3; receivers: 3; running back: 2; offensive line: 2; tight end: 1; defensive tackle: 1; quarterback: 0