Clemson already loading up football recruits for 2016

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has an impressive recruiting class set for 2015, and is already lining up players for the 2016 class. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin/File)

Clemson has had it’s 2015 recruiting class in place for several weeks so the Tigers have turned the page to 2016. They hosted juniors on Saturday and picked up one commitment immediately and could land three more this week.

Clemson continued its magic in luring talented skill position athletes from the Tampa area Saturday when wide receiver TJ Chase (6-3, 180) of Plant City, Fla., committed to the Tigers at the end of junior day activities. Chase attends IMG Academy in Bradenton and was joined for the weekend at Clemson by two other highly regarded prospects in defensive end Rahshaun Smith and athlete Saivion Smith.

Chase was ready to make his decision after meeting with the Tigers and seeing in person what they have to offer.

“The strong relationship that I’ve built with coach Swinney and coach Scott, it was just a good atmosphere,” Chase said. “All the stuff that coach Swinney and coach Scott was telling me about the campus and Clemson, when I went out there it was really just like they said it was, like a family atmosphere.  I just fell in love with it and I felt like it was home for me.”

Chase, who had 24 catches for 600 yards and five touchdowns last season, said he is finished with recruiting.

“I’m shutting everything down, Clemson is the place for me,” he said.

Chase also had offers from South Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, N.C. State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State and Virginia Tech. He’s the Tigers’ fourth commitment for the 2016 class.

Spartanburg junior running back Tavien Feaster, who attended Clemson’s junior day Saturday, plans to announce his college commitment Wednesday at 6 p.m. at his school. Feaster has not said anything publicly about a favorite but it’s widely believed he will announce for Clemson. The Tigers first offered him in 2013 and have remained at the forefront of his recruiting.

Feaster is coming off a season in which he helped lead his team to a state championship, rushing for 1,153 yards and 13 touchdowns and catching 45 passes for 1,016 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Junior linebacker Jamie Skalski (6-1, 230) of Newnan, Ga., attended Clemson’s junior day Saturday and now plans to announce a college decision Wednesday morning. Skalski said he is deciding between the Tigers, who he has most recently favored, and USC, who he has favored in the past. Junior offensive lineman Jack DeFoor (6-5, 268) of Calhoun, Ga., was at Clemson Saturday and was offered by offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell. He said he will likely commit to the Tigers.

Two of Clemson’s most prized commitments, wide receiver Deon Cain and running back Ray Ray McCloud of Tampa, made official visits to Auburn over the weekend. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has a stated policy prohibiting his commitments from visiting elsewhere or risk losing their offer.

Defensive back Damon Arnette of Fort Lauderdale is headed home after completing his weekend visit to Ohio State. The long-time USC commitment said nothing has changed and he still considers himself committed to the Gamecocks.

“It was nice, it was very cool,” he said of his visit to Columbus. “The coaches showed a lot of love.  It’s a hard decision right now. I’m still committed, I think. Nothing hasn’t changed there. I feel like there’s a great opportunity for me (at USC).”

Defensive back Rashad Fenton of Miami visited Louisville over the weekend. He also has been to USC and Florida. He plans to announce on Signing Day.

Defensive end Tega Wanogho Jr. of Elmore, Ala., made an official visit to Auburn over the weekend. He was joined by his assistant coach and mentor Todd Taylor, who is helping the Nigeria native to navigate the winding path to a commitment. Wanogho has also visited LSU, and plans to visit USC, Mississippi State and Tennessee.

Offensive lineman Christian Pellage of Brooksville, Fla., announced Friday night he will follow through on his commitment to USC and will sign Wednesday with the Gamecocks.  Pellage first committed to USC last August but took a long look at Florida once the new staff took over.

“Florida gave me a lot to think about, especially with the new staff and the players, but in the end, after the discussion with my family, South Carolina just felt right deep down in my heart,” Pellage said Friday night. Pellage is one of five offensive linemen committed to the Gamecocks and one of 31 newcomers for the 2015 class.

Offensive lineman Trey Derouen (6-3, 309) of Lilburn, Ga., announced a commitment to USC Thursday night. Derouen picked the Gamecocks over Louisville.  He once was a Mississippi State commitment and he also considered Florida and Kansas State.


The scheduled official visit to USC this past weekend by 6-10 center Levi Cook of Huntington Prep (West Va.) has been postponed until later this month, his coach said Saturday.  Coach Arkell Bruce said USC coach Frank Martin and assistant Lamont Evans were at their game Friday night and they want to bring Cook in Feb. 21 when the Gamecocks host Texas A&M and their basketball reunion weekend.

Along with USC, Cook is looking at Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Missouri and Michigan. He’s taken unofficial visits to Virginia Tech and Pitt.