Clemson Football: One Quick Thing – Don’t stress about offensive line recruiting

Clemson offensive line coach Thomas Austin during Spring practice in Clemson, S.C. Monday, March 7, 2022.Clemson Spring Football Practice March 7
Clemson offensive line coach Thomas Austin during Spring practice in Clemson, S.C. Monday, March 7, 2022.Clemson Spring Football Practice March 7 /

In the big picture, things are going well for Clemson Football recruiting. The Tigers received a commitment that was likely at the top of their wishlist in linebacker Sammy Brown.

They got two commitments from wide receivers Bryant Wesco and TJ Moore, both of which were needed to bulk up the talent in that group. Overall, they have fourteen commitments and are only recruiting to cover a few more spots.

There have been two areas of disappointment for the Class of 2024 so far. One has been quarterback, where the Tigers were unable to land any of their targets. They were able to get a commitment from a 2025 4-star quarterback, so it does appear they will skip that position in the 2024 cycle.

The remaining area of concern is the offensive line. In the Class of 2023, offensive line coach Thomas Austin was able to bring in three 4-star recruits by July 4th. Harris Sewell, Ian Reed, and Zech Owens constituted a solid haul for Austin’s first recruiting class.

This year hasn’t gone Clemson’s way. The 2024 class included three well-regarded offensive line prospects in the state of South Carolina. All three committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Tigers invited six offensive line prospects to their early June Official Visit weekend, hoping to get commitments from three of them. They did receive a commitment from Ronan O’Connell, but so far he is the only one.

Michael Uini committed to Georgia, Fletcher Westphal committed to Florida and William Satterwhite selected Tennessee. Yesterday, Casey Poe announced his decision to attend Alabama.

That leaves only Jameson Riggs, who has been very quiet about his intentions. There are no Crystal Balls for him on 247Sports. Even if Riggs were to select Clemson, the Tigers must expand their board to get the targeted three offensive linemen for 2024.

Even though this stands out as the only area of concern one can point at for this cycle, it hasn’t stopped fans from having anxiety. Some are questioning Austin’s ability to recruit even though he had a good 2023 class and has a great start on the 2025 group by recruiting David Sanders, Jr., who sits atop many 2025 overall recruiting rankings.

There is plenty of time for Clemson Football to find more offensive line targets

We all want to hit on as many targets as possible, and missing on seven in this cycle is disappointing, but it isn’t the end of the world. One of the catches of the recent trend towards earlier commitments is that a lot of recruiting happens before the high school football season even starts. There are always going to be prospects who aren’t well known that make a name for themselves as seniors.

The reality is that there are players who are 3-stars, maybe even 2-stars, that will get noticed in the next few months. Clemson has always been good at finding those diamonds in the rough.

There is one more big reason to relax about offensive line recruiting: it has never been a component of Clemson’s best successes. I’m excited to think that Austin could improve the play of the O-line, but it isn’t like former coach Robbie Caldwell’s group was plowing the way for the offense to just waltz into the end zone.

The Tigers have had some talented offensive linemen, some of whom are in the NFL now, but they have never been known to be one of the highest-rated groups in college football. Clemson’s formula for success doesn’t necessarily require Top 100 line recruits every year.

Austin must dig in and do some of his best work now, but fans should relax. There is a lot of time left.

Next. Clemson Football: Bold predictions for 2023 defense. dark