Fact or Fiction: Clemson will dominate 2021 recruiting
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
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1. Mel Tucker at Michigan State makes things harder for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Mark Dantonio was a great coach and did an excellent job at Michigan State before things unraveled. So why would I think Mel Tucker is a bigger threat to Jim Harbaugh? Because of the way Tucker recruits, especially in the Southeast. That’s the key to getting to the playoff out of the Big Ten, especially in a division with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. Tucker’s ability to recruit will only hurt Michigan and make the Spartans stronger. Ohio State is still clearly the best team in the Big Ten and that won’t change anytime soon, but this is a good hire for Michigan State.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Michigan State needed a refresh as things got stale in recent years under Dantonio with back-to-back 7-6 records and an offense that was not inventive. On the field and especially in recruiting, Tucker was the right choice for this job because he will be relentless and give Michigan State a fresh start while keeping true to what works in East Lansing. All that makes it harder for Harbaugh on the recruiting trail because Tucker will focus on in-state talent and hitting the Southeast for elite players.
2. The pressure is on Kirby Smart at Georgia more than ever with another recruiting title.
Farrell’s take: FACT. It’s time to start winning SEC and national titles, Georgia. History shows that the team dominating in recruiting always ends up winning a national title. From Texas to LSU to USC to Florida and to Alabama, the recruiting dynasties always break through for a national title. Now that Kirby Smart has won three-straight recruiting titles, it’s time to put that together on the field. He came a play away from winning it all, but that’s not enough.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Smart is right on the cusp of doing really special things at Georgia, he has the recruiting down better than any coach in the country and with some luck in the coming years - and every team needs some luck - the Bulldogs should not only win the SEC but also at least one national title.
The defense is arguably the best in the country and the offense needs a jumpstart. With the receiving corps getting better and older, the running backs should be outstanding for the coming years and Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman will provide a much-needed spark to move the ball.
I don’t think there is much pressure on Smart because he’s doing everything possible to win and he’s right on the edge. Sure, Smart and Mark Richt have basically the same record after four years and people ended up getting tired of Richt, but that was after a whole other decade of not winning titles. Smart has a lot of rope in Athens.
3. Clemson will dominate recruiting in 2021.
Farrell’s take: FACT. The Tigers might not win the recruiting title, but you know they will finish top-five and they are the most dominant recruiting program in the country despite Georgia’s recent recruiting finishes. Clemson puts together smallish classes just loaded with talent and they hit every need over and over again. No. 1 prospect Korey Foreman is just the start for 2021 for the Clemson Tigers.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Don’t get me wrong - Clemson is going to have a phenomenal recruiting class like always and getting nine early commits, including Foreman, is a fantastic start. But looking at the top of the Rivals250, Georgia should be in really good shape, LSU should load up and could really have an outstanding class if things fall a certain way and then Texas and Texas A&M have a shot at surprising with an outstanding class as well. If the Longhorns and Aggies can’t keep all that local talent home then that’s a problem. Clemson already has a great group and will have a terrific class, but the Tigers won’t dominate as others have built-in advantages.