Clemson football lost a top 200 commitment in the class of 2023 Thursday morning as four-star offensive lineman Zechariah Owens of McDonough, Georgia decommitted from the Tigers and reopened his commitment.
Owens is a top 200 player overall in the 247sports.com composite, the 18th-rated offensive tackle and the 16th highest-rated player in Georgia.
Owens was one of three offensive linemen committed to the Tigers, with the others being Harris Sewell of Odessa, Texas and Ian Reed of Austin, Texas.
Both Reed and Sewell are rated as four stars, with Sewell being a top 100 player.
Owens’ decision dropped Clemson down to 19 commitments in the 2023 class at this time.
In a twist, Owens is scheduled to be a guest of Florida State when the Tigers travel to Tallahassee on Saturday evening for the huge ACC matchup.
It’s believed that Florida State is the favorite to win Owens’ services eventually, but that decision has not been confirmed.
Word began to get out on social media of Owens’ likely decommitment early Thursday morning and then it became official very quickly afterward.
There were some rumblings that NIL may have played a role in this situation, but that also hasn’t been confirmed.
Many believe Clemson football will eventually fall behind in recruiting due to the way the Tigers handle NIL
Many believe the Tigers will eventually fall behind in recruiting as they have chosen not to approach NIL in the same fashion as many of the top college football programs have.
While there are NIL opportunities at Clemson, they generally are not thought of as being as lucrative as many others schools offer up front, and tend to focus on education, branding and the long-term, rather than immediate financial gain.
More immediately this is a hit to the class at a pretty late stage at a crucial position where numbers are important, given the difficulties in evaluating high school linemen.