Last year, no out-of-state school recruited the state of Georgia worse than Clemson.
This year, no school is recruiting the state better than the Tigers.
One year after pitching a shutout, Clemson has seven Georgia commitments (and counting), including the grand prize, Grayson defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect.
“Clemson has traditionally recruited the state of Georgia very well, and last year they just missed out,” Scout.com’s Chad Simmons said. “But obviously Clemson has come back much more aggressively this year. They’re getting back to what they want to do – and that’s recruit strongly in the state of Georgia.”
No name speaks louder than Nkemdiche. But there’s more than just the 5-star. Elbert County High School’s Tyshon Dye is one of the Southeast’s top running backs, while Lassiter High School’s Ryan Jenkins and Peach County High School’s Demarcus Robinson are both candidates as the state’s top prospect at wide receiver.
Clemson is also considered a frontrunner for the state’s top uncommitted prospect, Dooly County defensive tackle Montravius Adams.
“Looking at history, when Clemson has been good in football, they’ve gotten good players from Georgia,” 247sports.com’s Rusty Mansell said. “There’s no way Clemson can be that close to this state and afford not to recruit the state heavily. After what happened last year, I think they’ve made it a big priority this year and you can see the results so far.”
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney told the AJC he has six assistants in charge of recruiting Georgia.
CLEMSON ELIMINATED: One top Georgia prospect that Clemson won’t get is Alvin Kamara, the speedy tailback from Norcross High School. He eliminated the Tigers when he released his top five of Tennessee, UGA, Alabama, FSU and Oklahoma State. “Yeah, I just didn’t connect with the coaching staff as a whole [at Clemson],” Kamara told the AJC. “And I honestly couldn’t see myself living there for 3-4 years.” There were reports that Kamara may visit UGA on Friday, but he said he won’t. He’s also unsure on a decision date.
THE ONE AND ONLY LANE KIFFIN: If you thought UGA’s Mark Richt was extremely aggressive in pursuing Penn State transfers by admitting to reporters that his staff reviewed the two-deep roster on the same day of the NCAA penalties, he had nothing on Lane Kiffin. At Pac-12 Media Day, Kiffin all but blurted out “We want Penn State junior RB Silas Redd to transfer here.” Kiffin, in true SEC form, repeatedly complained to reporters about his school’s lack of tailback depth – calling it the team’s “No. 1 concern” — while dancing around with his words to avoid mentioning Redd’s name specifically.
UGA: DO I STILL HAVE A CHANCE? There were hopes – OK, prayers — that 5-star RB Derrick Henry would commit to UGA again after appearing at “Dawg Night” prospect camp earlier this month. Henry had a good time, but not good enough to pledge again. Does UGA even still have a chance? “I wouldn’t say Georgia is totally out of it with Derrick, but I’d say more like ‘on the outside looking in,’” Scout.com’s Chad Simmons said. “I talked to Derrick, and right now he likes Alabama. And I think Tennessee has convinced him that he could be their guy.” Simmons said the biggest thing in UGA’s favor is Henry’s relationship with the coaching staff and other Georgia commitments. “I think they will get another visit, whether it be an official or unofficial. But right now, Georgia is on the outside looking in.”
PROSPECT U. No Georgia high school manufactures D1 prospects like Stephenson, with 11 signing FBS (formerly NCAA Div. I) scholarships last February. This year? The DeKalb County powerhouse already has six committed, including LB Kight Dallas (South Carolina), DB Ali Groves (South Carolina) and DE Jonathan Wynn (Vanderbilt). Stephenson could end up with 8-10 by February.
THE WAITING GAME: One of Atlanta’s top quarterbacks from this past season will be hanging around town a few more months before reporting to college. Flashback: On the eve of last February’s signing day, McEachern High School’s Trent Thompson flipped from his longtime commitment to Georgia State to accept a grayshirt offer from Tennessee Tech. That means that Thompson won’t report until January. “Yes, I will still be around here, it’s a lot more feasible,” he told the AJC. “I could’ve gone to Tennessee Tech this semester but I would’ve had to pay for it. It’s a lot easier to pay for school here with the Hope scholarship.” For the next four months, Thompson will work out with a trainer and take classes at West Georgia. Does he have any regrets about passing on Georgia State? “I’m still happy with my decision. But don’t get me wrong. I’ve second-guessed it a couple of times. ‘What if I had gone to Georgia State? I could’ve been competing for a starting spot right now.’ But I place my trust in God. I know He has a plan for me, and it’s going to work out how it’s supposed to.”
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON? Taylor Lamb always dreamed about playing QB in college for his father, but it looks like it won’t happen. Taylor has committed to South Alabama over Memphis and UTC. The rising senior at Calhoun High School is the son of Bobby Lamb, who is the coach starting the football program at Mercer University. “We did talk about it, but I just wanted to play somewhere else,” Taylor said. “Mercer is just starting their program, they’ve signed a lot of players, and my dad is doing a good job. But once I got bigger offers, [my father] was fine with it and told me to go do my thing.” Taylor also joked, “I don’t think I can get into Mercer, to be honest. It’s a hard school.”
A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE: With so much going on with the rising seniors, it’s hard to focus on the state’s top 2014 prospects. Two of them participated in the Top Gun Football Camp, and offered insights on their recruiting — St. Pius DB Nick Glass: “I have offers from about 26 schools and I’ve committed to Georgia… but I’m still looking to take visits to Michigan, Auburn and Clemson possibly.” Norcross RB Myles Autry: “I have five current offers — Penn State, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Syracuse and Georgia Tech — I’m most interested in Tech right now because it’s closer to my brother and I’m thinking of majoring in engineering.”
OTHER TOP STORIES
BEST OF THE REST
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.