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Three-Point Stance: Clemson, Florida risers, programs off to slow starts

Christopher Vizzina
Christopher Vizzina (Rivals.com)

Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright discusses Clemson's recruiting momentum, identifies three Sunshine State prospects who could rise up the rankings and checks in on some traditional recruiting powerhouses that are off to a slow start in 2023.

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CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

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CLEMSON RIDING RECRUITING WAVE

In early May, Clemson’s 2023 recruiting class was hanging out at No. 21 in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings trailing UCF, Minnesota and West Virginia. Fast forward to mid-June and the Tigers are arguably the hottest team in the nation having skyrocketed to fifth in the team rankings. One can take a quick look at the list of 11 verbal commitments seeing that seven are from Southeast states: Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

Clemson’s class got a big start when four-star Alabama QB Chris Vizzina committed in mid-April. After a lull that lasted until late May when four-star DB Branden Strozier made his announcement, Clemson’s class has been fueled by four-stars Avieon Terrell, Kylen Webb, Jamarl Anderson and Victor Burley.

Besides all the four-stars, the great sign for Tigers’ fans is the collection of talent on defense. There does not appear to be a hangover with the loss of former defensive coordinator Brent Venables to Oklahoma.

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THREE FLORIDA THREE-STARS THAT COULD RISE IN THE RANKINGS

Andy Jean
Andy Jean (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The spring evaluation period is over and now the camp season is in full swing. While most rising seniors are taking official visits instead of receiving instruction at collegiate camps, the 2022 season this fall looms large for players on that cusp of four-star recognition. Here’s five to watch in the coming months.

WR Andy Jean – Jean took apart 6A Florida defenses with Miami’s Northwestern last season stretching 40 receptions into 733 yards with eight scores. The one-time Hurricanes commit has taken one official visit to Texas A&M and has an offer sheet lined with high-profile programs such as Michigan, Tennessee, Penn State, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

LB Grayson Howard – The stat sheet for Howard says it all; he has a nose for the ball. Working over 4A teams, Howard amassed 157 stops, 95 by himself, with 14 tackles for a loss. Howard is a technician in the box getting the job done. He has announced a top five of Georgia, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Clemson and Florida.

WR Tyree Patterson – Statistically speaking, Patterson is at the four-star mark. He led his Panthers’ squad in receptions (53), receiving yards (1,078) and receiving touchdowns (13). His speed was put to use on kickoffs taking eight back for 204 more yards. Patterson closed down his recruiting on April 17 committing to the Florida Gators.

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SLOW GOING FOR SOME TRADITIONAL RECRUITING POWERHOUSES

It is very odd seeing Alabama, Miami, Florida or Auburn ranked on the lower end of the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings. History is on Nick Saban’s side in Tuscaloosa. With just four commits, the Crimson Tide have the 39th-ranked class, but all expect a meteoric rise in the coming weeks. By late July, the Gators should be back among the top 20, if not better, recovering from their spot at No. 50.

With John Ruiz fanning the NIL flames in South Florida, having signed a reported 115 athletes on a payroll estimated at $7 million, having six recruits in the 2023 class seems like a letdown for the Hurricanes. Miami's class consists of two four-stars and six three-star recruits. Time is on Miami’s side, but at what point before the Early Signing Period does one start to become more concerned?

For context on Auburn slotted at No. 65 with just two commitments, the Tigers' 2023 class is ranked behind Northern Illinois, Nevada, Army, Kansas, Toledo and Central Michigan. Again, time changes everything, but one has to wonder if the offseason troubles for Bryan Harsin on The Plains is spilling over into the program's recruiting efforts. A 6-7 season is easy to recruit against for heavy-hitting SEC teams. With that, Harsin and his staff will have to come out swinging this fall and make the most of a five-game homestand to open the season. Losses to Penn State, Missouri and LSU in Jordan-Hare may make recruiting even harder going into the second half of the schedule.