The Tigers returned to the ACC Championship in 2017 to defend their 2016 ACC Crown against the Hurricanes from Miami and the Coastal side of the conference.
This marks the Hurricanes’ first-ever title game appearance since joining the ACC in July of 2004. No one thought when the Canes joined the league that it would take this long for Miami to win its division of the ACC. The vaunted program is steeped in tradition—most notably beginning in the early 80’s, when a more dominant program could not be found anywhere on the college football landscape.
Fast-forward to 2017, and we find a program that has been mired in mediocrity for almost a decade, and a few bad coaching hires later they find themselves heading in the right direction, thanks to the insertion of alumnus and former Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt into the lead role at Coral Gables.
Since his arrival, Richt has turned the Canes’ fortunes 180 degrees and had them ranked as high as 2nd in the nation in recent weeks, finding themselves now at #7 going into this prime-time matchup on Saturday night in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
As far as recruiting goes, Miami has put a lid on its territory as best it can since the Richt arrival. He has cited an old Miami recruiting philosophy of “locking down South Florida.” That’s what they did in the 80’s, and it’s been their mantra again as they try to build depth on the roster.
Clemson has made a living in south Florida in recent years, recruiting the likes of Sammy Watkins, Mackenzie Alexander, Adrian Baker, Richard Yeargin and Trayvon Mullen, just to name few that in past years would not have made it out of the region.
So this matchup will play big in the homes of South Florida recruits and nationwide, as the Tigers and Canes will finds themselves on more than one occasion vying for the same prospects. The results of this upcoming championship contest could weigh heavily in favor of the winning side when recruits are splitting hairs between schools .
Stay tuned, as the big matchup in Charlotte will have repercussions on the recruiting trail down the road in 2018 and 2019 all over the recruiting map.
****The Remaining 2018 Targets
Top-Tier Clemson WR target Justyn Ross
WR Justyn Ross
It’s a Clemson-Auburn battle for the heralded WR, with the Tigers from the lake, also known as “WRU,” leading for arguably the nation’s top wideout. Justyn was in town to see WRU and the Tigers take on the Cadets of The Citadel, and he brought his mother with him for his Official Visit. All returns coming out of the visit have Justyn even more enamored with the Defending National Champs than he was coming into the visit!
In-state Alabama seems to have faded into the distance in recent weeks, with the Clemson Tigers appealing to the Phenix City standout. The Yellow Hammer State’s top offensive prospect is trending Clemson Orange, and we are hearing an impending announcement is forthcoming during the Under Armour All-Star Game in January. So stay tuned, as CUTigers.com tracks his recruitment and keeps you up top date as Ross gets closer to his big announcement!
RB Lyn-J Dixon
It’s Alabama, Clemson and Louisville, with the Cardinals rising surprising here, as the former Tennessee commit was just at Clemson on his official for The Citadel game. Watch out for Alabama, and Louisville has really made a late push for the Tigers’ first 2018 offer after losing out on the nation’s #1 RB, Zamir White, in late summer when he committed to Georgia.
Dixon had been committed to Tennessee prior to receiving a Clemson offer, but with the upheaval that was the end of the Butch Jones tenure, he de-committed and took visits to all of the aforementioned three schools. This one changes direction as much as the wind does on a daily basis. So stay tuned, as Clemson may be involved with more running back targets in the 2018 class in the near future.
DB Patrick Surtain, Jr.
Surtain, who was thought to be SEC bound, has kept communication with the Tigers, and we see an impending official visit potentially surfacing in the near future, as Surtain continues to look around. At one point, he was thought to be headed to LSU, but he has continued to leave the door open from time to time. At present, we feel he is still LSU bound, but Clemson is not through pleading its case to the Sunshine State’s star from Fort Lauderdale.
OL Cade Mays
Mays is set to announce on 12/20 with a final list of Clemson, UGA, Tennessee and Ohio State all awaiting on the big Tennessee legacy to pick his school of choice. Clemson and UGA are back and forth here over the past few weeks, and the big man has an Orange tint to him as of today. But things can change in a hurry, and a UGA official visit is still to take place. If the Tigers can come out of that visit with Mays uncommitted and waiting to take in-home visits, then we really like the Tigers’ chances here.
Cade, who played in his High School State Playoffs last week, was caught wearing Clemson gloves during the game. See Tweet below! Cade is really loving the Tigers at present, and Georgia has slipped a little at present, but a UGA official has yet to take place, and the upcoming conference championships for both the Dawgs and Tigers could affect the big man’s thought process moving forward. But for now. It’s 55/45 in favor of Clemson if you ask me. Stay tuned!
DE KJ Henry
Henry has been on Clemson’s radar since a performance at the Dabo Swinney Camp back in 2015, and he has Clemson, UGA, Virginia Tech, Alabama and South Carolina, in that order, from what we are hearing with regard to the top defensive target on the Tigers’ board for this 2018 class. The Tigers have been making every effort to show the star from the Tar Heel State that he is a Clemson priority in this 2018 class. So stay tuned, as we cover Henry’s recruitment all the way up to his announcement on 12/20! It could be an early Christmas for the Tigers with both Mays and Henry set to announce on the same day.
Clemson OL Target and VT Commit Jordan McFadden
McFadden exited his Clemson official with a lot of smoke around his recruitment, and that smoke had an Orange tint to it. We actually thought a choice would have culminated later in the week, with things fresh in his mind off the visit to Tiger Town to see The Citadel contest. But since then, things have simmered down, and the big man from Dorman has slowed things back down.
It’s still a Virginia Tech and Clemson battle, with the Hokies holding pat after a major push by the Tigers for the Spartanburg County mauler to switch allegiances and come over to the Tigers. Instead, the commitment to the Hokies is standing firm, and the Tigers have their in-home visit coming up as the big man prepares for the Annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Stay tuned, as the Tigers are pressing hard here for a commitment sooner rather than later, if it is to come at all. CUTigers.com is the place to be to get the up-to-the minute info on McFadden, the Tigers and Hokies!
****Clemson Commits and Targets Make ACC Championship Predictions
“I say we dominate their offense and beat them 28-3. Because our defense is such a force, it will give our offense multiple opportunities to score with a lot of time.”
Mike Jones, Jr.
“38-17. I feel like we shut them down on defense.”
“35-10. I feel like our offense is going to continue to show out, and our defense is one of the best in the country, so we will shut them down.”
“33-20. Clemson gets off to fast start.”
“Clemson 31 – Miami 21. It will be a low-scoring game, but Clemson will pull out with the win!”
“31-17. I feel like it's going to be hard fought from both sides. Of course, I feel like the Tigers are going to come out on top. Those boys work for it every day. I'll be in the stands Saturday to witness the victory.”
****This Week’s Tweets
Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) November
30, 2017 Congratulations, KB2!
November 30, 2017
November 29, 2017
November 29, 2017
ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) November
26, 2017 Looks like there's a new No. 1....
Looks like there's a new No. 1....
November 26, 2017
BT (@btpotter10) November
November 27, 2017
November 27, 2017
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