Trevor Lawrence is ranked as the No. 1 football player in the recruiting class of 2018 by 247Sports.
Xavier Thomas is ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2018 by 247Sports.
Both are committed to Clemson.
With more than nine months to go until National Signing Day, Clemson has verbal agreements with the top two high school football players in the nation.
Lawrence and Thomas might not be the only five-star recruits to become Tigers. Fairfield, Ohio, offensive tackle Jackson Carman, ranked as the No. 7 overall recruit by 247Sports, has told multiple media outlets Clemson is currently his top school. No. 22 overall recruit Justyn Ross, a wide receiver from Phenix City, Ala., tweeted his visit to Clemson was one of the best he has taken.
Other five-star recruits who have visited or plan to visit Clemson include No. 4 overall recruit Zamir White, No. 5 overall recruit Patrick Surtain Jr., No. 20 overall recruit KJ Henry and No. 21 overall recruit Teradja Mitchell.
Clemson’s class of 2018 is ranked as the fifth-best in the nation, with eight players committed.
Lawrence, a quarterback from Cartersville, Ga., and Thomas, a defensive end from Florence, will be the stars of the Tigers’ class no matter who else they sign. Since 247Sports started its composite rankings in 2000, no school has landed the Nos. 1 and 2 prospects in the same class. Lawrence and Thomas might not finish the recruiting cycle as the top two prospects, but they’re unanimously considered elite talents.
There are other players in the Tigers’ 2018 class to excite fans. South Pointe wide receiver Derion Kendrick and Lewisville defensive tackle Josh Belk are four-star recruits. So are Mike Jones Jr., a linebacker from IMG Academy, and Justin Mascoll, a defensive end from Snellville, Ga.
Even Clemson’s less heralded local recruits have potential. Seneca’s Braden Galloway has only one year of high school football experience, but has prototypical size and athleticism for a tight end. Daniel’s Jake Venables is the son of defensive coordinator Brent Venables, but he’s a better talent than many of the players with family ties Clemson has signed in recent years.
It’s possible any of these players could decommit, but Clemson has a good track record in Dabo Swinney’s coaching tenure of keeping players in the fold once they commit. Swinney has told players he expects them to be “all in” before committing.
What Clemson could run into is a numbers problem. Recruiting coordinator Brandon Streeter said Clemson’s 2018 class will likely consist of 10 to 16 players, which means the Tigers are running out of spots. Clemson won’t turn away any of the five-stars, but it could be forced to turn away other talented and interested recruits.
Clemson set its gold standard for a recruiting class in 2011, when it signed 27 players, including three five-stars: Tony Steward, Sammy Watkins and Stephone Anthony. Watkins and Anthony went on to be All-ACC players and NFL first-round picks.
Four-star recruits Charone Peake, Corey Crawford and Martavis Bryant and three-star recruits B.J. Goodson, Adam Humphries, Grady Jarrett and DeShawn Williams also went on to have productive Clemson careers and play in the NFL.
The Tigers landed a trio of five-stars again in 2015 with Mitch Hyatt, Deon Cain and Christian Wilkins. Clemson’s 26-player class that year also included four-star recruits Ray-Ray McCloud, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant and Van Smith, all of whom played a key role in last year’s national championship run and are expected to be among the Tigers’ star players this year.
Clemson’s 2018 class looks to be its best in terms of talent per player. From a quantity standpoint, however, Clemson won’t be able to match some of its previous classes. While the Tigers are likely to have immediate stars and future first-round picks, they won’t have as many opportunities to find hidden gems like Goodson, Humphries and Jarrett who developed into NFL players.
Stars of the class
A look at the top players in Clemson football’s recruiting class of 2018:
5-star ranked the No. 1 player in 2018.
5-star ranked No. 2 recruit in 2018.
South Pointe player has 4 stars.
Lewisville player has 4 stars.