Clemson last week hit on two of the nation’s top offensive line prospects for the 2020 class, giving the Tigers five linemen in their class.
Bryn Tucker (6-5, 310) of Knoxville, Tenn., and Mitchell Mayes (6-4, 305) of Raleigh join John Williams (6-5, 260) of Canton, Ga., Walker Parks (6-5, 250) of Lexington, Ky., and Paul Tchio (6-5, 325) of Alpharetta, Ga., to give the Tigers one of the nation’s top offensive line groups in the class.
Tucker, in a podcast announcement with Jesse Smithey of 5StarPreps.com, said Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell started recruiting him in October and the two developed a close relationship. He visited Clemson in January and was offered by head coach Dabo Swinney. From that point, he said, the Tigers were paramount in his mind.
“They’ve got everything you need in life,” Tucker told Smithey. “They’ve got the education. They’ve got the professors that lead you in the right way to get you to the highest peak. And coach Dabo and coach Caldwell, they are some great people, some major leaders. They push the players to the limit. You get down there, it’s business, and you’re also getting a good education. It’s been in my heart ever since my visit, and I just can’t get it off my mind. This is the school I want to be at. My family and I made a decision, and we were happy with it and glad to be a Clemson Tiger.”
Tucker said Clemson and Virginia Tech were the only schools he visited this year. He also had offers from Ohio State, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, Georgia Tech, Southern Cal, Virginia and others. He plans to sign in December and enroll in January.
Mayes chose Clemson over offers from Virginia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Duke, Louisville, Tennessee, Mississippi State and others.
“I’ve known I wanted to go to Clemson since the Elite Junior Day visit,” Mayes said. “That visit was spectacular. Everything was over the top, and they solidified as my number one all the way back then. I just felt like it (the decision) was easy. I didn’t want a spot to get taken up, and I couldn’t pass up such a great opportunity to be a Clemson Tiger.”
The Tigers have a total of nine commitments in their 2020 class.
“We’re going to be the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation,” he said. “We’ll be the best offensive line in the nation. We’ll be the best class in the nation, no doubt.”
In other recruiting news:
Safety RJ Mickens of Southlake, Texas, was back at Clemson for the recent junior day, and he brought his mom with him. It was Mickens' fourth visit to Clemson and won’t be his last. Mickens, the son of former NFL defensive back Ray Mickens, said this visit gave him his first chance to see Clemson coaches doing their thing in a practice setting. “This was my first time seeing a practice, so I got the behind the scenes look at coach Conn, coach Reed and coach Dabo. They play a lot of different types of coverages. It’s a very multiple defense. In practices, of course they are going up against some of the best receivers and the best quarterback.” Mickens released a top 11 of Clemson, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida, Nebraska and Miami. “They’ve got top 10 facilities and top 10 coaches,” Mickens said of the Tigers. “They don’t always recruit the highest rated, but more so like the highest character. They want character, too, and high rated. It’s more than just about getting a top person with a bad attitude. I just like the atmosphere of the people there. They are one of my top schools, if not the top. I like Clemson a lot. I look forward to making a decision soon. Clemson is definitely high up there on that list.” Mickens had shoulder surgery in January, thus his travel has been limited. Clemson has been his only visit of the spring thus far. He picked up recent offers from Mississippi, Miami and Penn State. He has no timetable on a decision and one, he said, could come anywhere from the next two weeks until the end of summer. He does plan to graduate early. And he said he might take some early visits from the list he drops in a couple of weeks.
WR Julian Fleming of Catawissa, Pa., is another of the top receiver targets in the 2020 class Clemson is pursuing. He was in for his first visit for the recent junior day. “The visit was great,” Fleming said. “The best part was just being around the coaches and playing some basketball or going out to dinner with a couple of the players. Being able to hear things from a player’s perspective was important.” He also heard things from the coaches perspective as receivers coach Jeff Scott and Swinney had plenty to share. “I spent the most time with Coach Jeff Scott, but pretty equal between him and Coach Swinney,” he said. “Their message was just all the things that Clemson does different and how they put their players in a place to be successful as a man and a player.” Fleming has named a top six of Clemson, Penn State, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Oregon. He hasn’t gone further than that in revealing his inner feelings about the schools but the visit to Clemson certainly left the Tigers in high standing. “Clemson put itself in a very good spot,” he said, “Only the coaches know how good because you can’t put everything out there.” According to MaxPreps, Fleming has 150 career catches for 3,195 yards and 43 touchdowns. Last season he caught 45 passes for 777 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games.
Another nationally elite receiver in for the junior day at Clemson was Xzavier Henderson of Miami. If the Tigers land Fleming and Henderson, they might be finished at receiver for the 2020 class. But they continue to look at others, and that includes Jalen Coit of Cheraw who also was in for the junior day. “It was fun and exciting, I had an very good time,” Coit said. “Clemson is a special place, my best visit so far. They have huge interest in me. He (Jeff Scott) said I’m at the very top of his board. They just want to build a bigger relationship and see during spring practice.” And while not as heralded nationally as some others, Coit has no doubt he could play in the Clemson receiver rotation. “With (Hunter) Renfrow leaving, with so many long receivers on the outside, I can bring speed to the slot position along with DK (Derion Kendrick). That would just make the offense so unpredictable, that it would be unstoppable. That’s what was sold to me. Come in and make the offense faster.” Coit is no slouch himself at wide receiver. According to stats compiled on MaxPreps, he has 120 career catches for 1,904 yards and 28 touchdowns. His offers include Penn State, Rutgers, Kansas, Duke, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Indiana, Purdue, Virginia, Wake Forest and East Carolina. Coit said the only other visit he has set for the immediate future is Virginia Tech March 30.
Hammond DL Alex Huntley on Friday night revealed the six schools he considers his top six and the programs he will focus on moving forward in the recruiting process. Huntley has his list down to South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, LSU and Stanford. He has visited the first four and is hoping to see the other two before deciding on his official visits. “I think a big common thing about them all is really the atmosphere,” Huntley said. “I just loved all the places when I went. Some of them I haven’t been to, but the four that I did choose, I love the atmosphere. The two that I haven’t been to, LSU and Stanford, I like the coaches, what they can do for me, not even the coaches but the programs also. Those are all solid six possibles that I thought could get me to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, some of the colleges that weren’t on that list were great colleges, and I felt they could do the same. I just feel that those six were the best ones for me with everything included.” Huntley said of the six, USC has been making the hardest recruiting push for him, and he said the Gamecocks are attractive him not just because they are a few miles down Devine Street from his home. “Not only because they’re so close, but they are like one of the hardest recruiters,” he said. “It’s always good hearing from them. I went to a little bit of a spring practice. It was great. I didn’t get to catch the whole thing because it was just after a workout, but it was great.” Huntley said he might pop back over to USC for another spring practice and is also looking at attending the spring game there April 6. He plans to make his decision between late summer and early October. Some of the schools that offered Huntley and didn’t make the cut include Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Auburn, Nebraska and Virginia.
TE Diego LaMonica (6-5 227) of Miami went to Clemson’s junior day without an offer from the Tigers and is just now cultivating the relationship. “It was insane, the campus, going out onto the field and looking up, I’ve never been in a stadium like that. It was surreal to see that,” LaMonica said. Playing in a run-oriented offense last season, LaMonica said he had just six catches but four went for touchdowns. Still, he said Clemson tight ends coach Danny Pearman loves his potential for the Tigers’ offense. “They say they like how aggressive I am and how I attack the ball like at the highest point,” he said. “They said I would be a tight end and they would be able to put me in the backfield, out wide and put me in at tight end and do a lot of things with me.” LaMonica said he hopes to get back to Clemson for the spring game, and he’s also planning to attend some camps there this summer. He said the Tigers want to see him in practice this spring before making an offer decision. LaMonica has offers from West Virginia, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, UCF, Wake Forest, Oregon, Virginia and others. He does not have a favorite and will not be signing or enrolling early.
OL Javion Cohen of Phenix City, Ala., is a high priority target of USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford. He offered Cohen in mid-January, and Cohen visited campus later in the month. The two have remained tight through daily contact, and Cohen plans to return for an official visit next month. “Me and coach Wolf talk every day,” Cohen said. “We set up an official visit for April 26. I look forward to going. It’s definitely somewhere where I could see myself. I’m excited about that one.” Cohen is not interested in redshirting as a freshman. He wants a chance to play early, something he and Wolford have discussed in detail. “I’ve been asking him about the depth chart as far as what my position will look like when I get there,” Cohen said. “For me, of course, playing early is something important to me. The way the depth chart is looking, that’s shaping up to be something I’d like to see.” Wolford is not alone in reaching to Cohen on behalf of the Gamecocks. His boss also is actively involved. “I talk to (Will) Muschamp every day as well,” Cohen said. “He sends me every morning about 8 a motivational quote. We talk about it just like that’s part of the routine.” The Gamecocks have to like their position with Cohen right now, but this recruiting case is far from solved. And to make things even tougher for the Gamecocks and others, Alabama recently offered Cohen, and that was important to him. “Amazing. That was one definitely I always wanted, and to get that made me feel on a whole nother level as a player,” Cohen said. ”My athleticism was something (Nick Saban) said he’d never seen from an offensive lineman before. He wants me to gain weight, but pretty much my feet was what sold him.” Cohen obviously was hyped over getting the big home-state offer, but he didn’t lose his mind over it. He didn’t automatically move the Crimson Tide to the top of his list. “Right now, I’m at a pretty even slate,” Cohen said. “At first, I did have them (Alabama) on top, but I’m at a pretty even slate right now.” He includes USC, Missouri, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Tennessee and LSU with Alabama in his to group at this point. Cohen visited LSU over the weekend and was offered. He plans a return trip to Alabama before spring break. And he will go to Florida State for its spring game April 6.
SAF Ja’Qurious Conley of Jacksonville, N.C., picked up a USC offer in early January and later visited the Gamecocks. Since then he has had them in his top group with North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech and Tennessee. Conley continues to hear regularly from the Gamecocks and his feelings towards them remain unchanged. “I like them, I talk to the coaches a lot and it’s a good family place,” Conley said “I like it a lot. I talk to the coaches almost every day. They tell me they want me and I’m a big priority and I can do a lot in their system as a safety.” Conley said he plans to visit USC again and they are working on a date later this spring, possibly for the spring game. Conley visited Clemson for the junior day this month. “They haven’t offered me yet. They want to kind of build a better relationship, but they keep telling me and my coaches I’m an offer guy and it might take a couple of weeks to get to know me more, and then they might offer me. They would be in my top five with an offer.” Conley said USC and Clemson have been his best visits so far. He’s also been to North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest. He said he has another visit to Wake Forest coming up. Conley said he does not have a favorite at this point. He’d like to make his decision by the end of the summer if he can, if not then sometime during the middle part of his season.
ATH Ethan Pouncey of Winter Park, Fla., and 2021 WR GaQuincy McKinstry of Pinson, Ala., also visited Clemson for the junior day.
Clemson offered RB Daniyel Ngata (5-11, 190) of Folsom, Calif., brother of Tigers freshman receiver Joe Ngata. Ngata visited Clemson with his brother last season. Ngata is a national recruit with other top offers like Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Washington and LSU.
WR Rakim Jarrett of Washington, D.C., who has Clemson among his offers, tweeted that he plans a commitment soon. He was at Tennessee recently and tweeted afterward he would be back in Knoxville soon. He’s also mentioned Ohio State, Southern Cal, Florida, LSU and Alabama as others under consideration.
Clemson target CB Henry Gray of Miami plans to visit Georgia for the spring game April 20.
TE Braiden McGregor of Port Huron, Mich., who visited Clemson on Thursday, was at Florida State on Friday.
Clemson target WR EJ Williams of Phenix City, Ala., planned to visit LSU this past weekend. He was at Clemson for the junior day.
USC commitment OL Issiah Walker of Miami visited Florida State over the weekend.
USC target WR Michael Wyman of Greensboro, N.C., visited Florida over the weekend.
USC WR commit Da’Qon Stewart was offered by Syracuse.
USC target TE John Copenhaver of Roswell, Ga., was offered by Michigan.
Brynes RB Rahjai Harris was offered by Georgia State and Charlotte.
UCF offered WR Jalen Coit and DL Xavier McIver of Cheraw.
2021 ATH Jordan Burrell and his twin brother 20201 WR Joshua of Blythewood were offered by Appalachian State.
Christian Brown, the Columbia native who played this season at Oak Hill Academy, Va., on Friday announced a commitment to Georgia. The 6-6 Brown made Georgia one of his first official visits. He also took official visits to Clemson, UNLV and Oklahoma State and unofficial visits to USC. According to Brown’s mother Melody Davis, early exposure to first year Georgia coach Tom Crean was a major factor in their decision. “I was very impressed when Coach Crean first worked with Christian during Adidas Nation camp,” Ms. Davis said. “I loved his passion and thirst for the game. When he got the job at UGA, it just made sense.” This season, Brown averaged over 12 points and 5 rebounds per game.
USC women had in home visit last week with 6-1 Olivia Cochran of Columbus, Ga., according to Hoops Central.
6-0 PG Ace Baldwin of Baltimore named a top five of Clemson, Maryland, Georgetown, Seton Hall and VCU.
Per John Whittle of TheBigSpur, Georgia Tech offered 6-9 PJ Hall of Dorman.