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More could be on the way in Clemson's top recruiting class

Phil Kornblut
Posted 1/1/20

The 24 football players signed by Clemson earlier this month added up to the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, thus far, by the national analysts. According to the 247Sports composite ranking, Clemson signed six 5-star recruits and 11 …

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More could be on the way in Clemson's top recruiting class

Posted

The 24 football players signed by Clemson earlier this month added up to the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, thus far, by the national analysts. According to the 247Sports composite ranking, Clemson signed six 5-star recruits and 11 4-stars.

Clemson is in position to add another major target on Saturday in 4-star wide receiver Xzavier Henderson (6-feet-4-inches, 185 pounds) of Miami. Henderson plans to announce his commitment during the NBC broadcast of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Henderson took an official visit to Clemson the weekend prior to the start of the dead period this month. He also took official visits to Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Henderson also visited Clemson in March and had a 2-day camp stay in June.

His brother is former UF cornerback CJ Henderson.

Clemson signed two WRs this month in EJ Williams and Ajou Ajou. Alabama also signed two WRs this month and has a third committed. UF signed one WR, has a commitment from a second and picked up another as a transfer. And UGA signed four WRs this month, probably making it a longshot for Henderson.

Clemson signees in the All-American Bowl are defensive end Bryan Bresee, CB Fred Davis, DE Myles Murphy, offensive lineman Paul Tchio, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and safety RJ Mickens.

Representing Clemson in the other national all-star game, the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, will be OL Bryn Tucker, running back Demarkcus Bowman, defensive tackle DeMonte Capehart, WR EJ Williams, OL Mitchell Mayes, linebacker Sergio Allen, defensive lineman Tre Williams, LB Trenton Simpson and OL Walker Parks.

Clemson DE target Korey Foreman of Corona, Calif., is on commitment watch. He tweeted he could commit somewhere anytime. There is no exact date. Foreman is the No. 1-ranked player in the '21 class by 247Sports. He visited Clemson in late July. Southern California and Oregon are believed to be two of the stronger teams with him.

CB Corey Collier of Miami has Clemson in his top 10 along with UGA, Florida State, UF, Louisiana State, Ohio State, Miami, Penn State, Syracuse and Auburn.

WR Troy Stellato of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has Clemson in his top five with Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, North Carolina and Southern Cal.

USC

South Carolina DE commitment Jordan Burch will play in the Under Armour Game. He did not sign this month, but he told reporters in Orlando on Saturday he is firmly set with USC and will sign in February with his teammates at Hammond School in Columbia.

Burch said a major reason he chose USC over LSU and Clemson was that it made him "feel like a big priority." He said he wanted to go somewhere "I would be a priority, not another option."

Burch said he did not make his final decision until his announcement day and LSU finished second. He said coaches from LSU, Clemson, Alabama and UGA have reached out since his commitment but he hasn't responded. He said he hasn't thought about whether he will take his final two official visits in January. He took officials to Alabama, UGA and LSU.

Burch is the only USC commitment in the Under Armour Game. His Hammond teammate and fellow USC DT commitment Alex Huntley is in the All-American Bowl. USC LB signee Mohamed Kaba was selected for the game but is out after suffering a season-ending knee injury in October.

Quarterback Collin Hill (6-5, 214), who played for new USC offensive coordinator Mike Bobo when he was head coach at Colorado State, announced on Saturday he will transfer to USC.

Hill, who played at Dorman High School in Roebuck, was a redshirt junior last season, having suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his freshman season of '16. He suffered his third torn ACL this season.

"I'm really excited to come back home and be at USC," Hill said. "I felt like it was time to move on from CSU, and USC gave me a chance to do that. As far as an opportunity, I'm just going to come in and work to get healthy again, grind through rehab(ilitation) and be ready to compete when the time comes."

Bobo recruited Hill out of Dorman and he worked his way into the starting job, but his recurring knee injuries set him back. When Bobo was fired after the season and then hired soon after by USC head coach Will Muschamp, Hill felt it was a good time for a fresh start for him as well.

"I entered the portal and Coach (Bobo) gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in coming back down to South Carolina," Hill said. "I told him I would have to pray and talk with my family about it. I just felt like I was supposed to be in Columbia, so I told him I wanted to come."

Hill said he will be enrolling in January on scholarship, and as a graduate student, he will be eligible to play this season. He has one season of eligibility but can appeal for a second. He's now looking forward to getting his knee 100% and giving the Gamecocks 100% in hopes of earning the starting job or contributing in some manner.

"I will be healthy enough to play for the season, and I have been told I have an opportunity to compete once I am healthy and ready to go," he said. "I'm about three months out right now and am on track with everything. For spring ball, I won't be doing everything. I'm not sure exactly how much I will do though."

He played in 18 games for the Rams, passing for 3,323 yards and 23 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. As a high school senior at Dorman, Hill passed for 3,505 yards and 35 TDs against 11 interceptions.

He will join a QB room headed up by returning starter Ryan Hilinski and incoming freshman Luke Doty. And there is also Dakereon Joyner, who served as the backup this season but is expected to move to WR in the spring.

Another former Colorado State player will be following Bobo and Hill to USC. Fullback Adam Prentice (6-0, 236) announced on his Instagram page on Monday that he too will use his grad transfer option to join his former coach and teammate in Columbia.

Prentice is a native of Fresno, Calif. He redshirted the '15 season then missed all of '16 with an injury and received a medical redshirt.

He played in 22 games over the last three seasons for the Rams, accumulating 65 rushing yards and 115 receiving yards with one TD. His best rushing game was 29 yards on eight carries against Utah State in '18.

USC in the top six with DT Taizse Johnson of Washington. The others are Alabama, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Maryland and UF. He is 13th-ranked DT in the country by 247Sports composite.

USC offered SAF Dakota Mitchell (5-11, 170) of Winter Park, Fla. Tight end Marcus Thompson of Greensboro, N.C.. received a preferred walk on offer from USC.

South Aiken High TE Jesse Sanders received a PWO offer from Tennessee. He has the same from USC. He also has offers from Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Army, Akron and Mercer.

CLEMSON AND USC

DT Payton Page (6-4, 315) of Greensboro, N.C., is rated the top player in that state for the '21 class by the 247Sports composite. The 5-star prospect is the No. 7 player nationally, the No. 2 DT.

From over 30 offers, Page narrowed his list to 11 -- Clemson, USC, North Carolina, Alabama, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, UGA, UF, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. He wants to narrow his list to a top five and then have a decision before his senior season.

Page said he has visited Clemson two or three times and probably will return for a junior day. "Clemson has been telling me how much I can fit in and how much I have already done, and I could have an immediate impact," Page said. "They seem like family."

Page did not visit USC during the season. He said he had plans to visit on a particular weekend, but his grandmother passed away so he had to cancel. He still has his interest in USC and will consider visiting for a junior day.

"It's a good school," Page said. "I'm supposed to go on a visit soon, I just don't know when. I hear from Coach Muschamp about every other week." Clemson and USC appear to be keeping up regular contact with Page. However, he said that's not the case among all of his top 11 schools. "You're the only person I've told this to, but not really," he said. "A lot of them have not been recruiting me as hard as some others, and that's going to affect my top five."

And when that top five will come out also is in doubt. "Was going to come out real soon, but my brother didn't like some of my choices," he said. "You know, this is a family commitment."

Page had 71 tackles this season, 26 tackles for loss and three QB sacks. For his three seasons of high school ball, he has compiled 191 tackles, 55 TFLs and 13 sacks.