Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with thoughts on many of the big recent commitments, Clemson hitting that next level in recruiting and five teams off to the best start in 2019.
1. Commitments with biggest impact
With so many recent commitments, it’s time again for me to rank them in terms of how they each impacted the recruiting world. This takes into account all commitments over the last couple of weeks or so.
- DE Xavier Thomas, Clemson – Not only is this Clemson’s second top five commitment in 2018, but Thomas was considered a long-time South Carolina lean to boot.
- DT Taron Vincent, Ohio State – An elite, gap-shooting out-of-state defensive tackle is one thing Urban Meyer hadn’t been able to pull since he took over at Ohio State. Not anymore.
- RB TJ Pledger, Oklahoma – Pledger was a smidge over two weeks ago but deserves mentioning because he’s another great California (via Florida) get at a key position for the Sooners.
- DB Myles Sims, Michigan – There are others ranked higher that are below Sims on this list, but this pull from Georgia is huge and continues the Wolverines’ Southeast success.
- WR Mark Pope, Miami – The locals are staying home much more often under Mark Richt and help is on the way at wide receiver where there have been good ones, but an overall lack of depth at a position ‘The U’ used to own.
- DB Trent Gordon, Penn State – A top defensive back pull from Texas for the Nittany Lions deserves to be high on this list.
- DB Gurvan Hall, Miami – The second of three Miami commitments to make the list, showing how hot the program is right now.
- DE Jarell Cherry, LSU – Not unexpected but a key get at a position of need, especially in the SEC where defensive end depth is huge.
- WR John Dunmore, Florida (2019) – the best 2019 commitment on the list, the Gators need help at the skill positions and are starting to grab some wideouts that will help the quarterback situation.
- OT Wanya Morris, Florida State (2019) – FSU has three from Grayson now and are invading Georgia. Morris is the biggest get of the trio.
- OT Cleveland Reed, Miami – The offensive line is always a need position for any program and the ‘Canes are adding some serious size for the future.
- DB CJ Smith (NR), Florida – A four-star outside the Rivals250, this is still a very nice get and an important addition for Florida recently.
- WR Michael Wilson, Stanford – Stanford continues to add so much quality to each class that it’s amazing to watch them recruit.
- OT Maxwell Iyama, South Carolina – The Gamecocks need big men and Iyama is a good one who could be a staple along the line for years.
- OL Daniel Dawkins, Vanderbilt – Center is a key position and getting a Rivasl250 guy from New Jersey is not only surprising but could have been higher on this list.
2. Clemson joins the elite of the elite in recruiting
Clemson commitment Xavier Thomas leads the way when it comes to impact recruits over the last couple of weeks and it’s becoming clear that the Tigers are elevating themselves to new levels of recruiting. In fact, if I had to put them in a stratosphere for recruiting over the last couple of years, it would be up there with Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and perhaps Michigan.
Clemson now boasts the No. 1 and No. 3 player in the country and are in the mix for others in the national top 10 like CB Patrick Surtain (No. 2), OL Jackson Carman (No. 4), RB Zamir White (No. 7) and OL Jamaree Salyer (No. 9). Clemson has done an elite job recruiting for a long time, at least dating back to 2011 when they pulled Tony Steward, Mike Bellamy and Sammy Watkins out of Florida and Stephone Anthony out of North Carolina, but the last few years have been amazing. With Dexter Lawrence, Rahshaun Smith and Tre Lamar as five-stars in 2016 to Hunter Johnson, Tee Higgins and AJ Terrell as five-stars in 2017, the 2018 class could be even better at the top. The record for the most national top 10 recruits in one class is three held by three programs (Florida State, Florida and USC) and Clemson could easily take a run at tying or breaking that this year.
Thomas’s commitment is important in many ways, but as an IMG player and a very outspoken and active recruiter, you can bet he’s going to be acting as an assistant coach on the recruiting trail, personally working on big-time prospects. There are numerous rankings cycles left for 2018, so some of the above players could fall out of the top 10 while others Clemson is heavily involved with (Anthony Cook is a good example) could move up. They are in some intense recruiting battles with Georgia (White, Salyer), Ohio State (Carman) and might be on the outside looking in for a guy like Surtain, but make no mistake about it – Clemson recruiting has hit a new level. That’s what a national title can do for a program that knew how to recruit at an elite level even before they won it all.
3. Five programs getting a jump on 2019
You have to like the starts that a few programs are having to their 2019 recruiting classes. I know, I know – a 2019 commitment is like a girl saying “I’ll think about it” when asking her out, but it’s also better than not having a commitment. The best starts:
- Georgia – The only one of our five stars committed, Jadon Haselwood leads a strong group highlighted as well by defensive end Nolan Smith and offensive lineman Luke Griffin.
- Florida – Dunmore is a key get at a must position and Jaleel McRae continues the great recruiting defensive back tradition. There are three others already in the class as well with plenty of potential.
- Oklahoma – Two wideouts make up this class so far but both are elite and ranked in our first 100.
- Florida State – While we’ve only ranked one of them (Morris) in our first 100 for 2019, there is a lot to like here from the versatility of Kenyatta Watson to the defensive line depth, led by book end defensive ends Michael Morris and Quashon Fuller.