Wednesday is national signing day for high school football players, the day when the dust settles on fierce recruiting battles and recruits sign on the dotted line. Not long ago, this was about the only day the average college football fan paid great attention to the ranking and recruitment of high school athletes. Now, with sites like Rivals.com and Scout.com making a business out of reporting the day by day changes of impressionable teenagers, recruiting has been pushed into the mainstream of college football fandom. Check out Bruce Feldman's book Meat Market for more lamentations over the business of recruiting.
So far, 23 players have committed to Clemson. Rivals and Scout rank the haul so far at 14th nationally. ESPN ranks them at 4th in the country. Interestingly, last year ESPN had the Gamecocks' recruiting class in the top 5, to the outright derision of the most vocal Tigers. This year the shoe is on the other foot and it is curious to see many Tigers bragging about ESPN's take on our class. Regardless of who ranks the class, the Tigers are looking great right now.
Jeff Merritt supplies us with his take on how Signing Day will boil down for the Tigers:
Will this be a Great Signing Day, or the Greatest Signing Day??
The 2007-2008 recruiting season is about to come to a close this Wednesday, February 6th. While many schools have finished up with all their prospects or ran out of scholarships, the Clemson Tigers are in it with 3 top players who plan to announce their choices on National Signing Day, Jamie Harper RB, Jacksonville, FL, Antoine McCain, Anniston, AL, and Jerrell Harris, Gadsden, AL. It should be noted that Clemson already has a #4 ranked class by ESPN, (of course #10-12 is more realistic by other outlets, we’re just gonna go with #4… yea, I like that better.) It should be no surprise that the MAN, the Legend, Dabo Swinney is the recruiter of record for each other these top out-of state prospects.
Jamie Harper RB 6’ 0” 220lbs. 4.4
Harper is the biggest fish of them all. This running back is so special that he was worth two offers- meaning his teammate Daniel Andrews’s first offers were from Miami, Florida and Clemson; the three main contenders for his services. Jamie is considered by some to be the #1 running back in the state of Florida, giving Clemson a chance to pluck the top ball carrier 2 out of the last 3 years from the sunshine state. Things look good for the tigers here, as multiple sources have reported that Clemson is his leader, and the fact that Daniel Andrews, his best friend, not just teammate, best friend who got offered in order to be a package deal with him, is already committed to the Orange and White. Another strong indication is that a few months ago, a top RB from New York tried to set up an official in order to commit…. Clemson had to deliver him the news that they would not be accepting his commitment and would be ending their recruitment. Why would we do that unless we had someone already silently committed? Harper’s press conference is set for 12:20pm. Offers include – UF, Miami, FSU, UGA, Illinois, and Clemson among others.
Antoine McClain OT 6’6” 317lbs
This is where things might get interesting. McClain hails offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, and UGA. Antoine made his official visit to Clemson for the weekend of the Clemson Football team banquet, and was blown away. So much that it was believed that Clemson was in second place to Auburn for his services. Recently, Auburn’s class has filled up and has stopped recruiting McClain, putting the Tigers from the Upstate in the drivers’ seat. Don’t be surprised if the # 13 ranked Offensive tackle according to Rivals.com announces for Clemson at his press conference scheduled for 10:30 am.
Jerrell Harris LB 6’2 220lbs 4.5
Harris reminds me a lot of the linebacker Clemson lost out on a few years back, Geno Hayes who went on to absolutely star at LB for FSU – too bad there was no offense. He is the prospect that highlights the title of this piece. Regardless if Clemson lands this unbelievable playmaker that has offers from Southern Cal …(enough said), the Tiger will have a great signing day. Now if by some slight chance Jerrell shocks everyone and leaves the state of Alabama for Clemson, with the possibility of landing Harper and McClain, this could be the greatest signing day in Clemson history. But the chances of getting all three kids to leave state and head to the foothills of South Carolina seem pretty slim.
Put me down for “great”. Prediction - Harper and McClain choose the tigers while Harris rolls with the tide.
Willy Mac reacts to losing out on the big recruit.