Clemson recruiting: Senior day rewind, part 2
There’s something in these hills, and Sam Butler and the DieHards team have you covered on the Clemson recruiting trail as the defending national champions reload. Check here every Monday-Friday to stay on top of the latest news, and find every previous edition of the daily recruiting notebooks here.
Re-evaluating the rest of Clemson’s seniors
On Thursday, I took a look at a few of the Clemson seniors ahead of their final home game this Saturday against The Citadel, which will also serve as senior day.
In this edition, I’m wrapping it up by looking at four more. Two are seniors, and two are juniors who told Dabo Swinney they wanted to participate, since they’re graduating in December and may or may not be back with Clemson next year depending on their decisions after the season.
The full list of honorees includes all the names below, but since only the first seven have received significant playing time, those are the only ones I’m going to explore in-depth.
- LB Dorian O’Daniel
- CB Ryan Carter
- C Justin Falcinelli
- G Tyrone Crowder
- CB Marcus Edmond
- DT Christian Wilkins (Jr.)
- T Taylor Hearn (Jr)
- WR Jack Swinney
- K Christian Groomes
- K Drew Costa
- LB Connor Sekas
- DE Kaleb Bevelle
- OL Kelby Bevelle
Tyrone Crowder, guard
Crowder has lived up to the billing he received in high school. He was a 4-star guard from Richmond (Rockingham, N.C.) and was rated as high as the No. 4 player in the country at his position among the crop of recruiting ranking services. Crowder made his choice on National Signing Day, picking Clemson over Georgia.
He redshirted in 2013 and earned a few snaps the year after, but Crowder really came into his own in 2015. He was one of the key blockers up front for Clemson’s run to the national title game, and he was named a third-team All-ACC member after the season. More of the same came the next season, but the only difference was that Crowder improved: he earned a first-team All-ACC distinction following the Tigers’ title.
Original grade: 4 stars
Marcus Edmond, cornerback
Edmond has had a bumpy road over the course of his Clemson career, but a few moments in 2016 were pivotal to securing Clemson’s championship. He was a 3-star ATH from Lower Richland (Hopkins, S.C.) and was originally committed to N.C. State before flipping to Clemson in January of 2013. Edmond redshirted his freshman year and played sparingly in 2014 before beginning to log some meaningful snaps the next year in 2015.
In 2016, Edmond made a pair of plays that undoubtedly kept Clemson’s title hopes afloat, and without him the Tigers might have never earned the right to even play in the playoffs in the first place. The first came with less than a minute to go against Louisville, when he pushed receiver James Quick out of bounds short of the first-down marker on fourth down, forcing a turnover and sealing the game.
The next came against N.C. State two weeks later, when Edmond picked off Ryan Finley’s pass in overtime to keep Clemson alive yet again.
Edmond has been banged up this year. He suffered a foot injury against Auburn in the second week of the season and hasn’t played since, but it’s recovered enough to where he should receive playing time on Saturday. After everything he’s done for Clemson, he deserves one more game at home.
Original grade: 3 stars
Re-grade: 4 stars
Taylor Hearn, tackle (junior)
Hearn had a decision in high school, just like every recruit does. His was easier, in a way, though. Hearn held two offers: one from Clemson and another from North Carolina, so he was going to one of those two schools. He ended up picking Clemson just a few days after visiting while a junior at Williston Elko Hi (S.C.), where he also played kicker.
Hearn redshirted in 2014 and earned some playing time in 2015, but he emerged as a starter in 2016. In fact, his first career start was against Auburn in the season opener, and he was named offensive player of the game after it, as well as ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week.
His shining moment may have come earlier this year against Boston College, when he scooped up a Kelly Bryant fumble and ran for 12 yards on it — picking up a first down — meaning he was the second-leading rusher for that game in terms of yards per carry behind Travis Etienne.
Original grade: 3 stars
Re-grade: 4 stars
Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle (junior)
The other junior has been one of Clemson’s most consistent players each of his three years on campus. Wilkins was a top-tier recruit — he was ranked as high as a top-5 player at his position in the country and the No. 21 player overall — and an Under Armour All-American. He kept his recruitment close to the vest for the most part: nobody was really sure where he was going, but it looked like he might stay close to his home in Connecticut. Instead, he dropped a tweet saying he was going to Clemson, and that was that.
Wilkins didn’t take long to make an impact. He was firmly in the rotation during his freshman year and played well. A year that saw him become the first Clemson defensive lineman to catch a pass in a game, which he did against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, ended with a slew of honors. Wilkins was names a first-team freshman All-American by a handful of organizations, and he was named to the ACC All-Academic team to boot.
He built upon that the next year. Wilkins filled up the stat sheet, and he shook things up a bit some more by hauling in a touchdown reception against Troy. After Clemson’s national title, Wilkins was named an All-American by countless outlets, and he was a semifinalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik awards.
And of course, he can dance.
now THIS is how you celebrate a national championship pic.twitter.com/mRljlgirM8
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) January 10, 2017
Original grade: 5 stars
Re-grade: 5 stars
Jamaree Salyer cancels official visit
There’s been an update for the visitor list on Saturday as well. Five-star guard Jamaree Salyer has canceled his official visit to Clemson, according to TigerNet.com.
Salyer is down to Clemson and Georgia, and while the view here has been that of an uphill battle on Clemson’s side, he’s not publicly leaning one way or the other. And it doesn’t look like he’s visiting Georgia this weekend instead of Clemson, either.
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