TigerIllustrated - MONDAY INSIDER
football Edit


1. One to grow on.

We closed last edition by expressing that some prospects are worth the wait.

While some recent recruiting developments indeed haven't been favorable for Clemson, we wrote that plenty have been -- including some that just hadn't yet fleshed out publicly as the staff worked behind the scenes.

That ice broke Friday night when Clemson landed its latest commitment.

We have continued to highlight that the Tigers aren't as far behind this cycle as those only tracking their favorite school might be perceiving.

Clemson is only one of six schools with a 4.0 average star rating, and it has more commitments than two of them (Alabama 3, Auburn 2).

The addition elevated the Tigers to No. 22 in the Rivals.com team recruiting class rankings, and after Texas and its five pledges at No. 17, everyone else above them has at least six commitments. But only nine power conference schools have double-digit commitments.

So patience, folks.

The ones Clemson is getting continue to be pretty good. And as far as volume, the Tigers are on a comparable pace to the field.

2. Which leads us to our customary closing the book on the new acquisition: Alpharetta (Ga.) St. Francis four-star corner Branden Strozier.

Strozier (6-2, 175) could use a lesson in public relations and marketing. You dump bad news after business hours Friday evenings, not news that could build momentum and positive buzz for your recruiting class.

New Clemson four-star defensive back commit Branden Strozier.
New Clemson four-star defensive back commit Branden Strozier. (Rivals.com)

But we've had sources tell us Strozier is not the dramatic type. His announcement timing arguably stands as evidence.

Recall that in our April 22 notes, we indicated that a potentially significant weekend could be ahead and circled Strozier in conjunction.

Let's just say if Dabo Swinney had been in town that next day, this might have been done a month earlier.

Strozier picked Clemson over Tennessee, with Alabama coming in a distant third. He took in the Tigers' spring game April 9, two weeks after going to a Vols spring practice.

We subsequently quoted him expecting to have rendered his verdict before Clemson's official visit weekend, which indeed materialized.

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A fun trivial note: Strozier is a second cousin of NFL quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and we've been keeping an eye on whether Miami would make a run at Strozier because of family roots there.

Strozier informed Swinney early last week that he was going ahead and concluding his recruitment.

Sic assistant coach Mike Reed on a long cornerback from the Atlanta area, and history says odds are good Clemson gets him -- and then does a lot with him.

3. As referenced above, and is one of our trademark lines, Clemson does some of its best work under the radar.

Sunday's news that a second tight end had lined up an official visit arguably classifies.

Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood Catholic's Markus Dixon announced on social media that he would be at Clemson's June 3-5 official visit weekend.

In our Wednesday mailbag, we brought to light that Dixon (6-4, 225) was a candidate under surveillance.

Tight ends coach Kyle Richardson had visited his school several weeks ago, and the ball got rolling from there.

Dixon is an interesting case. He racked up early offers on measureables, then it became unclear what his market might be. We know one prominent school in his neck of the woods thought he might be more of a defensive end.

Yet one contact we spoke with suggested Dixon has looked better and better with each event this spring.

Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood Catholic tight end Markus Dixon.
Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood Catholic tight end Markus Dixon. (Rivals.com)

We know Dixon has an official visit scheduled with Oregon for June 17-19, while Texas A&M and Cincinnati are the other schools in deepest. Miami offered last week.

Clemson hasn't offered and has not visited before, which is a notable wrinkle for the official visitor guest list. But let's just say that he won't be going without an offer for much longer.

The Tigers aren't playing games this summer; as usual, they want the bulk of their class in place before their season commences.

They want two tight ends and now have worked to expand the board in that direction, with Naples (Fla.) First Baptist high-three star Olsen Henry also slated to be in town for the official visit weekend.

4. Hence their new offensive line offer as well.

Kennesaw (Ga.) Mountain's Connor Lew announced Friday that Clemson had put its name in the hat.

Lew (6-3, 280) competed at the Swinney Camp last summer, then returned with family to take in the Tigers' game against Boston College in early October.

From all we've gathered, teams are pursuing him exclusively as a center.

Which teams is a dynamic still to play out.

Lew visited UGA in March and reportedly has an official visit June 17-19, which we haven't been able to corroborate.

Penn State, Miami and Auburn have all been associated with Lew, too. But we're not sure the Dawgs or Nittany Lions have him high on the board.

Lew will announce his top four today, which should bring some clarity.

5. Another new official visitor for the roll call came on earlier last week in Rome (Ga.) four-star defensive tackle Stephiylan Green.

Green (6-4, 280), ranked No. 188 nationally by Rivals.com, listed Clemson among his top six three weeks ago along with Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee and Ole Miss.

Clemson is the only one in that group that hasn't offered.

But he attended the Tigers' March 5 junior day and told Tigerillustrated.com at the time that it constituted his favorite visit to date, having already taken trips to UGA, Bama, Tennessee and South Carolina.

We informed subscribers that Green still needed to improve his credentials in order for Clemson to advance its courtship.

Per our intel, that box has been checked.

An offer awaits.

Kennesaw (Ga.) Mountain offensive lineman Connor Lew.
Kennesaw (Ga.) Mountain offensive lineman Connor Lew. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Including one we will unveil momentarily, that runs our count to 26 official visitors for the opening June weekend -- 20 whom are rated as four-stars by the network, the remaining half-dozen all high-threes.

6. Within that collection, the most visitors by position belongs to defensive end -- where the Tigers will play host to five uncommmitted targets as well as Washington (D.C.) St. John's College four-star commitment David Ojiegbe.

So it's a big weekend as Clemson seeks two more ends this class in an effort to replenish the cupboard.

The one we've told subscribers we like the most headlined the field at Sunday's Rivals Camp Series competition in Atlanta.

His performance reaffirmed our opinion.


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