Clemson is evaluating three-star receiver Mike Jackson. (Mike Jackson/Courtesy)

Clemson Recruiting

Clemson evaluating wide receiver duo, focusing on pair of linebackers

CLEMSON – Clemson recruiting continues to chug along at its own pace in the 2022 cycle.

The Tigers have always done things their own way under Dabo Swinney. But this class has gone at an even slower rate than usual.

As Matt Connolly points out, Clemson’s four commits as of May 2022 is only half the amount the Tigers were boasting in 2021 at this time.

With only 64 offers extended to players in the 2022 cycle, Clemson mostly has its bases covered offer-wise with guys they are evaluating. But there’s still a handful of prospects the Tigers have their eyes on as they move forward.

Clemson recruiting receivers Darrius Clemons, Mike Jackson

ClemsonSports.com has been told that the Tigers are seeking to sign just two receivers in the 2022 class – one who can play outside, the other inside at the slot. With four-star local prospect Adam Randall in the fold, the Tigers have locked down a commitment from their man on the outside.

Now the search is on to fill the slot. They have 5-foot-10, 165-pound Brenen Thompson leading the way out of Spearman (Texas) High School. Thompson can absolutely go. He’s a track star with some of the best wheels in the country.

This week he competed in Texas’ Class 3A track and field state championships, finishing second in the 100 (10.40 seconds) and third in the 200 (21.27 seconds). For blazing times like those, finishing second and third is plenty telling of the competition there.

Thompson became the second receiver to receive a Clemson offer on Dec. 9, following up two weeks later by putting the Tigers on his trimmed list of 12 schools. He currently leads the way as the man the Tigers want to fill that slot spot.

He remains one of just three receivers with an offer. Randall is locked in, and Caleb Burton – another who could fill that slot role – is heading to Ohio State.

Other than the primary target, Thompson, the Tigers are evaluating a trio of other receivers in this class. Darrius Clemons, Mike Jackson and Antonio Williams are each receiving some interest from the Tigers.

Williams is a local prospect out of nearby Dutch Fork (South Carolina). Tennessee and the Gamecocks are the perceived favorites there. A Clemson offer, though, could change things in a hurry for the 6-foot, 180-pound four-star.

Jackson is a three-star speedster out of Miami Palmetto (Fla.). The 5-foot-8, 150-pounder tells ClemsonSports.com that the Clemson recruiting staff is evaluating him as a slot receiver, kick returner and punt returner. Communication with the staff has been light as of late, but the Tigers are talking to him about getting him on campus for an in-person evaluation. An offer won’t come until they get him on campus for an in-person workout. He is looking to set up a June date to camp there.

Clemons is another interesting case. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds the Tigers believe he fits more of the mold of an outside receiver. But Clemons tells us the Tigers coaching staff is continuing to stay in communication with him. Clemons speaks with receivers coach Tyler Grisham on a regular basis. Grisham and Co. want to get him on campus in June for a camp.

Clemons, however, has already set four official visits so it will be a busy month for him. He is set to trek to Auburn (June 4), USC (June 11), Penn State (June 18) and Michigan (June 25). The schedule for the Midwest native, who spent his formative years in Michigan before a move to Oregon at 10 years old, is moldable.

“If Clemson did offer, they’d definitely be in serious consideration,” the four-star receiver told ClemsonSports.com.

If the Tigers come calling with an offer before the June camp and visit circuit hits, the Clemons family – which has family in the Myrtle Beach area – would squeeze in a visit. At this point, though, with having those four officials scheduled, the itinerary is too filled up to get to campus for a Clemson recruiting camp. The main obligation is to see those four programs who have offered and are recruiting him hard.

If Clemson still has interest in him when June ends, an unofficial visit for the last week in July is on the table. We still expect Clemons to wind up choosing one of those four programs in the end. But he is a prospect to remain aware of this summer for as long as the Tigers continue to communicate with him.

Tigers have eyes on visitors Jaren Kanak, Fletcher Cothran

Experience and depth at linebacker are two of Clemson’s strengths on the 2021 roster. Coming down the road are even more reinforcements in five-star Barrett Carter and borderline five-star Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Each are ranked in the top 40 overall in the 2021 signing class.

In 2022, we can expect at least one linebacker signee, possibly two. Highlighting that list are TJ Dudley, Daniel Martin and Shawn Murphy. Losing bonafide stud Jalon Walker to Georgia is a big loss. Walker has All-American ability at the next level and can fill multiple linebacker spots. The Tigers seemed to have him in the bag in March, but the Bulldogs quickly made up ground.

We expect that Dudley-Martin-Murphy trio to be the one the Tigers hone in on the most, but there are two more to keep an eye on.

Dabo Swinney personally offered in-state linebacker Fletcher Cothran a preferred walk-on spot in April. That could turn into a full offer in June depending on Clemson’s in-person evaluation of the Anderson, South Carolina native.

Cothran tells ClemsonSports.com that he is camping with the Tigers on June 2 and will be working out as an outside linebacker. Cothran speaks with Brent Venables about once a week, and we won’t be surprised to see Cothran take up the Tigers on their offer in the summer. But we wait to see how that in-person evaluation pans out as he hopes to earn the full offer.

Also heading over for a Clemson recruiting camp this summer is composite three-star athlete Jaren Kanak, who was recently bumped to four-star territory by 247Sports. Kanak tells us that he will be taking an unofficial visit on June 1 and may elect to work out in front of the staff while he’s down.

Kanak, the state of Kansas’ top-ranked player in the 2022 class, has been talking with Brent Venables for a few weeks. He’s been in communication with some of the Tigers’ defensive staff as well via FaceTime.

Clemson is evaluating him as a linebacker/safety prospect and have mentioned offering down the road this summer.

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