The Clemson offense lost a lot of big playmakers after the 2009 season with the departure of C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford.
A healthy Andre Ellington certainly gives the Tigers some explosiveness, and receiver DeAndre Hopkins has great potential. But Dabo Swinney and company know they need more, and they are addressing that with this class.
Running back commitment Mike Bellamy reminds a lot of folks in Florida of a young Spiller, and the commitment last week from receiver Sammy Watkins (6-2, 191) of Fort Myers, Fla., completes the recruiting double for the Tigers in Florida. They have that state's top running back and top receiver prospect in their class.
"He felt comfortable with all aspects of the football program," Watkins' coach Grant Redhead said of his decision to pick the Tigers over Michigan.
"He's a home-run hitter, that's what they're getting. Any time this kid touches the ball....it's the speed. And he's big and physical. He's a deep threat at receiver and as a kick returner."
Watkins is Clemson's 23rd commitment for the 2011 class and fifth wide receiver.
In other recruiting news:
LB Travis Hughes (6-1, 228) of Virginia Beach, Va., made an official visit to Clemson over the weekend. "It was a great visit," said Hughes. "I loved the coaches, the players...everything." Hughes plans to announce his decision on Dec. 18 and said Clemson is very much in the mix. Hughes also made official visits to Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina. He will announce his decision Dec. 18.
LB Terrance Smith (6-4, 220) of Decatur, Ga., was scheduled for his official visit to Clemson over the weekend but did not make it in. He plans to reschedule. Smith has been committed to Florida State since last spring and remains so, though he is looking around. He's also taken official visits to Georgia and Florida State. Smith also plans to set an official visit with Alabama and is also looking at Miami and Ohio State. Smith is the son of former Clemson star receiver Terry Smith and the cousin of current Tigers receiver Nuke Hopkins.
LB Lateek Townsend (6-3, 207) of Marlboro County also was at the Clemson-USC game for an unofficial visit. Townsend spent time with the Clemson coaches after the game and was in the locker room for the postgame meeting. He continues to look at USC, Clemson, Southern Cal, LSU, and Florida. He has taken official visits to USC and Southern Cal and has not scheduled any other visits. Townsend plans to announce his commitment at the Army All-American game in January.
Manning DL Phillip Dukes (6-3, 280) also made an unofficial visit to Clemson on Saturday. Dukes has been favoring USC and is scheduled for an official visit there Jan. 21. He also plans to set official visits with Clemson, Miami and Alabama. Dukes met Sunday with USC defensive line coach Brad Lawing.
DE Jadeveon Clowney (6-6, 240) of South Pointe had looked into setting an official visit to Clemson this past weekend, but that did not come together. Clowney has taken an official visit to USC. Miami has come off his list and LSU is back on as far as other official visits he's considering. The others are Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State. On Sunday, Clowney met with USC recruiters Ellis Johnson and Brad Lawing. Right now, he's scheduled to visit Florida State on Jan. 7 -- the weekend after the Under Armour All-American game.
TE Jerrell Adams (6-5, 220) of Scott's Branch led his team to a state championship last Friday. He had planned to get to Clemson on Saturday for the game but didn't make it. Adams still favors USC "by just a little bit" over Clemson. He has not set his official visits, but he's looking at the two in-state schools along with Florida, Alabama and Auburn for trips.
After a brief flirtation with Clemson, USC and Middle Tennessee State, QB Tamyn Garrick (6-3, 210) of Williston-Elko has decided the Big South Conference looks good enough to him. Garrick has committed to Presbyterian. He also had an offer from Newberry. The SCADA North-South All-Star Game selection has passed for over 2,000 yards this season.
DB LaQuentin Smith (6-1, 208) of Orlando, says USC remains high on his list. "They keep winning and proving everybody wrong," said Smith. "Now they're going to the SEC championship (game)." Smith wants to set official visits to USC, West Virginia, South Florida and Cincinnati. He took his first official visit to Arkansas back in September and, along with the previously mentioned schools, said those are his top five. He had planned a visit to South Florida this weekend but did not make the trip. Smith does not have a favorite.
USC last week became the first to offer junior running back Kendrick Salley of Williston-Elko. Salley is one of the state's leading rushers this season with 2,051 yards and 39 touchdowns. He played last Friday in the Class A Division 2 state championship game --a 34-32 loss against Scott's Branch.
DE Ben Councell (6-5, 230) of Asheville, N.C., is committed to Notre Dame but does plan to take an official visit to USC. Councell will also take official visits to North Carolina and Notre Dame and is considering taking one to Georgia Tech. "I'm committed to Notre Dame, but signing day isn't until February, so I'm just making sure," said Councell.
WR Justin Scott (5-11, 205) of Camilla, Ga., is committed to Georgia but still is considering taking other official visits, including one to Clemson. He has an official visit to Georgia set for Dec. 10, and that's the only visit he has set right now.
--Sunday marked the beginning of a new contact period for football recruiting. Coaches are allowed six in-person off-campus contacts with a prospect, but not more than one a week, during the contact period that runs through Jan. 29. There is a dead period (non-contact) that starts Dec. 20 and ends Jan. 3.
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