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Old 09-09-2019, 08:06 PM
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Default The Insider Report

It is time for this week’s edition of The Insider Report.

It was a great weekend for Clemson fans and a special environment in Death Valley Saturday afternoon.

Two Big Commitments

It was a big weekend on the recruiting front as the Tigers really got the ball rolling with their 2021 class. Clemson picked up two more 2021 commits on Saturday after Loganville (Ga.) Grayson four-star running back Phil Mafah became the first commit in the class when he pledged prior to the Georgia Tech game.

Wide Receiver U added another top talent for the future in Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern four-star receiver Dacari Collins. Hopefully you saw our interview over the weekend with Collins, who met with Dabo Swinney and informed him of his commitment about an hour before kickoff of the A&M game.

Collins has known for quite some time that he wanted to be a Tiger and Clemson gave him that opportunity this summer, offering him after the Swinney Camp in June. Schools such as Alabama and LSU were also involved but Collins felt Clemson was the right fit and wanted to go ahead and pull the trigger. Jeff Scott has worked with Collins at camp the last several summers and the two have built a strong bond. Collins projects to play the 9-man position in Clemson’s offense.

The other top prospect the Tigers landed on Saturday is Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s four-star linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., the son of former standout NFL linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Sr.

Clemson emerged as a leading contender for Trotter Jr. after offering him at the Swinney Camp this summer. He was a late addition to Saturday’s guest list for the A&M game but made the trip and committed after the game. It was a big get for Swinney, Brent Venables and company as Trotter is one of the most talented linebackers in the country.

Both Collins and Trotter are excellent pickups, and Clemson’s 2021 class is off to a great start.

Latest on 5-star Will Shipley

With most of the space in Clemson’s 2020 class filled up, the majority of prospects that visited Clemson for the A&M game on Saturday are members of the 2021 class. There was a ton of talent on campus, with the Tigers playing host to half a dozen five-stars in the next cycle.

One of those was Will Shipley, the top-ranked all-purpose back in the country who we saw play on Friday night as part of our Tour of Champions. We spoke with Shipley again after the visit and he had a great experience. He was able to spend a lot of quality time with area recruiter Danny Pearman and running backs coach Elliott, and said the atmosphere in Death Valley was everything he expected and more.

Shipley was accompanied on the visit by his parents, both of whom are NC State alums. They were impressed as well and Shipley told us that they can see him at a place like Clemson. Shipley is set to visit Notre Dame for its game vs. Southern Cal on Oct. 12 and plans to attend NC State’s home game vs. Clemson on Nov. 9.

There is a ways to go in this recruitment but the Tigers are in a great spot right now. He wants to narrow things down after his junior season and hopes to commit before next summer.

Other headliners

We broke the news Saturday that Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley five-star defensive tackle Payton Page would be in attendance for the A&M game, and he was shown a considerable amount of attention by the Clemson staff before kickoff. Page doesn’t look to be close to a decision, but he was impressed by his experience in Death Valley as well and we believe the Tigers are the frontrunner in the early going.

Other class of 2021 five-stars in attendance Saturday were Pinson (Ala.) Valley cornerback Ga’Quincy McKinstry, Virginia Beach (Va.) Princess Anne corner Tony Grimes, Cochran (Ga.) Bleckley County offensive lineman Amarius Mims and Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga quarterback Caleb Williams.

Clemson in the Game with 5-star Gilbert

Last but not least, one of Clemson’s few remaining targets in the 2020 class visited for the A&M game in Marietta (Ga.) five-star Arik Gilbert, the nation’s No. 1 tight end. The Tigers have turned up the heat on Gilbert and also got him on campus for the All In Cookout in late July.

Gilbert took his first official visit to Alabama this summer. He had long been considered a strong Georgia lean, but the Tide have made a major push recently and many now view the Tide as the team to beat.

Clemson has been recruiting Gilbert hard and we feel the Tigers are firmly in the hunt. Based on what we’re hearing Gilbert expects to return to Clemson for an official visit later this season.

Gilbert plans to be an early enrollee. This battle is still very much up in the air right now and while the Tigers still have plenty of work to do, we can tell you that Swinney and company certainly have a shot here.

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