Clemson University

Clemson closes in on ‘most special’ recruiting class. It has a chance to make history

Clemson has attracted plenty of top talent over the past decade with Dabo Swinney at the helm, but never quite like this.

There are still nearly seven months until December’s early signing day, and Clemson has already gained commitments from four 5-star prospects, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking that factor in all major networks’ recruit ratings.

The Tigers have 14 commitments for the class of 2020 thus far and currently have the top recruiting class in the country. Clemson is still in the running for several other top prospects, and its 2020 recruiting class appears to be on the verge of history.

“This is a year where the top prospects that we have ranked also kind of fit that Clemson culture, if you look at the guys that they’ve offered,” 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong said. “And with the success that they’ve had on the field and with the NFL Draft, and then the job that the coaching staff does in getting to know these young men and their families, it’s coming together for maybe the most special class in 247Sports history.”

Clemson currently has 5-star recruits Bryan Bresee, DJ Uiagalelei, Demarkcus Bowman and Fred Davis in the fold, and the Tigers are in the top group with three more 5-stars: defensive end Jordan Burch, receiver Julian Fleming and defensive end Myles Murphy. 247Sports considers a 5-star prospect “one of the top 30 players in the nation” and someone with “excellent pro-potential.”

If Clemson lands those three undecided prospects just mentioned, it would sign four of the top 10 recruits, five of the top 12 and six of the top 17.

“The 2020 class is going to be great. It’s going to be an awesome class,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney recently said. “This (2019) class that just got here is huge for our future, and then certainly this 2020 class, because it’s going to be back-to-back really solid, substantial size groups that will be the foundation for these next five or six years for sure.”

While Clemson has a chance to sign the No. 1 recruiting class in the country for the first time in school history, Wiltfong admits that some of Clemson’s past classes have been underrated.

The Tigers have won two of the past three national titles without signing any top five recruiting classes.

“I would say that Clemson has always recruited at this level, we just didn’t rank them correctly. I think part of what has made Clemson so successful is that they identify the right guys for their program that are going to fit within their culture, and then they develop those guys,” Wiltfong said. “There’s a lot of programs out there that are getting highly rated recruits and not developing them and leading them to the right path to get the most success out of them.”

Wiltfong credits Clemson’s culture for helping the Tigers have so much success on the recruiting trail.

Everything starts with Swinney and then funnels down throughout the program, according to Wiltfong.

The national analyst noted that when Bresee committed to Clemson there were current and former Tigers players reaching out and congratulating him on social media.

“It’s really a community recruiting to Clemson, from the great evaluations of the coaching staff, to the great effort that the coaches put in, to everyone on campus from the players to the coaches,” Wiltfong said. “The folks that work at Clemson, they create an environment that you just want to play in, as well-oiled a recruiting machine as there is right now in college football. And Alabama and Georgia are recruiting at a high level too, but Clemson, they are able to get more of their top targets than anyone right now.”

Top 5 recruiting classes in 247Sports Composite history

Clemson has a chance to crack into, or even be No. 1, among the all-time classes in 247Sports Composite team ranking history when the 2020 recruiting cycle is complete. The 247Sports Composite ranking factors in all major recruiting networks’ ratings. The top all-time classes and some of their top recruits:

1. 2010, Florida (Matt Elam, Sharrif Floyd)

2. 2017, Alabama (Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy)

3. 2018, Georgia (Seven 5-star signees, including RB Zamir White)

4. 2014, Alabama (Cam Robinson, Marlon Humphrey)

5. 2013, Alabama (Derrick Henry, Reuben Foster)