CLEMSON — In the 2020 recruiting haul, Clemson reeled in a top-five class with three five-star prospects among their 23 signees. This set the table for major expectations.
A year later, this group is still on track. Five-star running back Demarkcus Bowman left for Florida, but everyone else remains on campus. With at least eight players expected to start of play heavy snaps this fall, this is a class that is ready to make a big splash for the Tigers in 2021.
Bowman is out, but each other five-star is still on campus and ready to make an impact. Bryan Bresee was the No. 1 overall player per the 247 Sports Composite and the sophomore was selected as a preseason first-team All-American. Myles Murphy was a top-10 overall recruit and the defensive end also received preseason All-American honors. Meanwhile, the coaching staff is very high on Trenton Simpson thinking the sophomore can be a difference-maker as a hybrid Sam linebacker. D.J. Uiagalelei steps in at quarterback with very high expectations.
With any recruiting class in college football, programs must hit on their stars. In the class of 2020, Clemson is well on its way to doing that.
What made this 2020 class so strong was the fact that it had 10 top-100 prospects and 12 top-150 prospects. Clemson hit on some five stars but the coaching staff also landed some high-level four-star recruits. These guys don’t get as much attention as the top-25 recruits, but a few are primed for big seasons.
Walker Parks was a top-50 recruit out of Kentucky is ready to step in as a starter at offensive tackle after earning Freshman All-American honors in 2020. E.J. Williams is set to have a big role at wide receiver after recording 24 receptions for 306 yards as a true freshman. Paul Tchio and Mitchell Mayes could be ready to compete as high-quality reserves on the offensive line.
This is a class with really good depth, and that should start to become evident this fall.
In any recruiting cycle, there are going to be some three-star prospects. There are just too many spots to fill and not enough blue-chip players available. However, these are players that can be quality contributors to your program. James Skalski, Tanner Muse, and Baylon Spector were previous three-star recruits that turned into very good football players at Clemson.
In the class of 2020, there are a couple of players making a push heading into year two.
Kobe Pace was one of the stars at spring camp and the bruising running back is in the running to earn a starting gig in the backfield. Tyler Venables had a monster spring game performance and the defensive back could play one of many roles for the Clemson defense this fall. Venables has a chance to excel at the nickel position.
Development is a buzzword that many college football programs throw around. However, Clemson has been able to consistently take lower-ranked recruits and turn them into contributing football players.