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Clemson has targeted five-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Clemson Recruiting

Clemson enters mix for five-star offensive tackle, offers 2022 defensive end

Tigers enter mix for five-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor

Clemson has yet to offer any offensive prospects in the 2023 class. But the Tigers are now involving themselves in Kadyn Proctor’s recruitment.

Already one of the most coveted players in the 2023 cycle, Proctor is a five-star prospect ranked No. 10 overall and No. 2 at offensive tackle in America. He is also the top-ranked prospect in his state out of Southeast Polk (Iowa) High School. He has a chance to go down as the highest-ranked recruit in his state’s history.

So yeah, teams want him pretty badly.

Add Clemson to the list. Proctor tells ClemsonSports.com that he spoke with Tigers offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell on Tuesday for the first time.

“They said they will offer after June and would like me to get down (for a visit),” Proctor says. 

Proctor says that he will “hopefully” be able to get to Clemson at some point in June. An offer from the Tigers would be a big, impactful step in his process. If they offer, the Tigers will throw themselves right into the thick of his recruitment.

“They are a big one for me,” Proctor says. “Many others I think highly of, too.”

On that list is Ohio State – which is one of the leaders in the recruitment of his Southeast Polk teammate, four-star 2022 safety Xavier Nwankpa – Alabama, Iowa, Notre Dame, Arizona State (where some family members are very close by in the state) and a handful of others.

Clemson offers defensive end Nyjalik Kelly

Clemson is entering the race for four-star defensive end Nyjalik Kelly.

The Tigers extended an offer to the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder on Monday. That makes the nation’s No. 215 overall player and No. 11 strongside defensive end the Tigers’ 65th total player to be offered in 2022. He is the 11th player with a DE designation to be offered in the cycle.

Kelly is a former Florida State commit who backed away from his Seminoles pledge on April 20, but they remain in the mix. He has official visits set for Indiana, LSU and Oregon in June, with an official visit to Alabama lined up for September. There’s plenty of room to add an unofficial or official visit to Clemson in either June or the fall.

He also has time to add Georgia to that list. The Bulldogs offered the Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) standout right around the same time the Tigers were showing their interest on Monday.

Searching for three edge players, hybrid talents

From the information ClemsonSports.com has gathered, Clemson is continuing its quest to sign three edge players to help fill out Brent Venables’ 4-3 base defense. Kelly is now part of that mix. 

That three-player scenario involves some combination of guys who project as defensive ends and players who can be used as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker. Most of the 11 defensive end targets whom the Tigers have offered in the 2022 class appear to fit the mold of a player who could do both.

Five-star and former Alabama commit Jeremiah Alexander, highly prized four-star DJ Wesolak and four-star target Kenyatta Jackson are three of the Tigers’ top-tier defensive end offers. Defensive end seems like the best fit for each of those three, but a standup edge rusher could be in the cards too.

Alexander and Wesolak will visit campus in June. Jackson has not yet set up a visit and may wait until the fall to do so.

That list of top targets doesn’t end with that trio. While each could wind up as a standup edge player, two Tiger offers who we know are being targeted as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker are Jihaad Campbell and Enai White.

In fact, White has said Ohio State is one of the few programs, perhaps the only one, recruiting him to strictly be a hand-in-the-dirt guy at the next level. White has been on record saying that he wants to be both a defensive end and an outside linebacker who can drop into coverage. An unofficial visit to Death Valley has not been set up for the summer.

Campbell is set for a June visit while White and Samuel Okunlola, another edge player, are both still looking to set up a trip. At one point in the not-too-distant past, it looked like Ohio State and Clemson were digging in for another one-on-one battle for Campbell. But it now appears that the SEC – notably Florida and Georgia – is shaping up to be the Tigers’ biggest competition there.

Notes on five-star quarterbacks Arch Manning, Malachi Nelson

In case you missed it in Tuesday morning’s Tigers Today, the Tigers are yet again going to factor into the recruitment of a five-star quarterback and one of the nation’s premier signal callers.

Arch Manning, the No. 3 overall player and No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the 2023 cycle, is set to camp at Clemson on June 8-9. Manning, of course, is the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, and he will also be taking unofficial visits to Ohio State, Texas, Alabama and Georgia, among others.

Ohio State and Oklahoma have become the top challengers to Clemson in the arm dealings of quarterback recruiting over the past few cycles.

The Buckeyes are bringing in the nation’s No. 1 overall player in the 2022 class, five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers, to an already heavily contested quarterback room. The Sooners look poised to add another top-10 talent to the fold in five-star Malachi Nelson. He’s the country’s No. 4 overall player and No. 2 pro-style quarterback in 2023.

Nelson is set to camp with the Tigers in June as well, and he recently told ClemsonSports.com why Dabo Swinney’s program is one of his top contenders, in addition to Oklahoma and USC. Still, the betting favorite for Nelson appears to be the Sooners. If he still takes his visit to Clemson in June that’s where the Tigers will have to make up ground.

It could be a huge summer in recruiting the position with the pair of five-stars set to hit campus.

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