CLEMSON, S.C. — Upon the opening of the early signing period on Wednesday, a total of 18 players signed National Letters of Intent to play football at Clemson. The early signing period will conclude on Friday, Dec. 18, prior to National Signing Day on Feb. 3, 2021.
Included below are notes on Clemson’s class as well as bios on the program’s signees.
HIGHLY RANKED HAUL
- As of 3:30 p.m. ET, Clemson’s class ranks No. 5 according to ESPN, No. 5 according to 247Sports and No. 6 according to Rivals. Entering this recruiting cycle, Clemson's recruiting classes had finished in the top 15 of at least one of three primary recruiting services (ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports) every year since 2011. Clemson was one of only seven schools to produce a Top 15 class in each of the last 10 years, a group that also includes Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame and Ohio State. After that group, the next longest active streak of Top 15 classes entering this year was five (Florida).
- If Clemson’s rankings hold, Clemson will have now produced seven consecutive signing classes that have ranked in the top 10 nationally according to at least one major recruiting service.
- As the rankings presently stand, Clemson is in position to sign back-to-back Top 5 recruiting classes according to at least one major service for the first time in rankings on record since 2003. Last year, Clemson’s 2020 class finished No. 1 according to ESPN, No. 2 according to Rivals and No. 3 according to 247Sports.
- To date, every signing class in Dabo Swinney’s head coaching tenure has won at least one ACC Championship at Clemson with exception of Clemson’s 2020 recruiting class, which will have the opportunity to join that list when it faces Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game this Saturday.
- Clemson’s 18-member class includes 16 members of the ESPN 300, 15 members of the Rivals 250 and 15 members of the 247Sports Top247. Thirteen members of the class appear on all three lists: S Andrew Mukuba, DT Payton Page, WR Troy Stellato, DE Zaire Patterson, S Barrett Carter, RB Will Shipley, DE Cade Denhoff, TE Jake Briningstool, WR Beaux Collins, OL Marcus Tate, LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr., RB Phil Mafah and CB Nathaniel Wiggins. OL Dietrick Pennington, OL Ryan Linthicum and WR Dacari Collins appear on two of the three lists, and QB Bubba Chandler appears on one. Seventeen of Clemson’s 18 members of the class appear on at least one list.
- Clemson added two defenders who ranked as five-star prospects by at least one major recruiting service, including Barrett Carter (Rivals) and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (ESPN). Offensively, running back Will Shipley was a five-star recruit according to the 247Sports Composite.
- Clemson signed three players who were rated by one of the major recruiting services as the top player in their respective state: RB Will Shipley (Rivals and 247’s No. 1 in North Carolina), TE Jake Briningstool (ESPN and 247’s No. 1 in Tennessee) and LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (ESPN’s No. 1 in Pennsylvania).
SPANNING THE COUNTRY
- Clemson’s 18 future student-athletes announced Wednesday represent nine states. Clemson has now signed players from at least nine different states in three straight years (12 states plus Canada in 2020, 14 states in 2019) for the first time since a five-year stretch of classes from 1991-95.
- Despite the geographic diversity of Clemson’s signees, the 2021 class marks the first time since 2014 that Clemson has not added a new state to list of those who have produced Clemson signees under Dabo Swinney. Swinney added his first signee(s) from Kentucky in 2020; California, Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2019; Missouri in 2018; Indiana and Louisiana in 2017; Colorado, Kansas and Texas in 2016; and Massachusetts in 2015.
- Since 1972, Clemson has signed student-athletes to football scholarships from 34 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
- Georgia produced the most Clemson signees of any state for the fifth time in the last six years (including 2016, in which Georgia and South Carolina each produced five signees). The addition of five more Georgia products in the 2021 class gives Clemson 33 signees from the Peach State since 2016.
- Clemson signed three Florida products, giving Clemson 16 Florida signees in the last three years. Clemson has now signed at least three players from Florida in three straight classes for the first time since 2004-06, a group that included five-star RB C.J. Spiller in the 2006 class.
- Clemson has now signed a player out of California in three consecutive recruiting classes for the first time on record. Beaux Collins (South Central Los Angeles, Calif.) joins Joseph Ngata (2019) and D.J. Uiagalelei (2020) as California products on Clemson’s roster.
- Across the 1970s and 1980s, Clemson signed 27 players from the state of Pennsylvania. In the two decades that followed, Clemson signed four players from Pennsylvania in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2019, Clemson signed LB Keith Maguire from Media, Pa., its first Keystone State signee since 1995. With the addition of LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (a Mt. Laurel, N.J. native who played his prep career in Philadelphia, Pa.), Clemson has now signed a Pennsylvania high school football product in two of its last three recruiting classes.
- With the addition of OL Ryan Linthicum (Damascus, Md.), Clemson has now signed a player from Maryland in each of the last three classes, including Tayquon Johnson in 2019 and Bryan Bresee in 2020. It’s the first time Clemson has signed a player from Maryland in three straight classes since 1972-74.
- Clemson signed multiple players out of the state of Tennessee (OL Dietrick Pennington and TE Jake Briningstool), only its second class with multiple Tennessee natives since 1980. The only other class with multiple players from Tennessee came in 2017, when Clemson signed two of its Top 16 players in career receiving yards in Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers, both of whom were from the Knoxville area.
- Clemson has now signed a player from Tennessee in five straight classes for the first time since freshman eligibility began in 1972.
- One year after signing S R.J. Mickens out of Southlake, Texas, Clemson signed S Andrew Mukuba from Austin, Texas, Clemson’s first set of consecutive classes with a Texas product since a three-year stretch from 1989-91.
DID YOU KNOW
- By signing both Dacari Collins and Nathaniel Wiggins out of Atlanta’s Westlake High School, Clemson signed a pair of high school teammates in a single recruiting class for the first time since signing both Jalyn Phillips and Andrew Booth Jr. out of Archer High School in Georgia in 2019.
- Clemson signed a pair of high school teammates across the 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes, including teammates out of St. John Bosco High School in California (D.J. Uiagalelei in 2020, Beaux Collins in 2021) and Damascus High School in Maryland (Bryan Bresee in 2020, Ryan Linthicum in 2021).
- Jeremiah Trotter Jr. is the son of 12-year NFL veteran Jeremiah Trotter. The elder Trotter spent seven years (1998-2001 and 2004-06) in Philadelphia as NFL teammates with Clemson legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins, whose son Brian Dawkins Jr. signed with Clemson in 2016 and graduated in May 2020.
More detailed information on Clemson’s signees is included below.
TE, Brentwood, Tenn.
Unanimous four-star prospect who is also a unanimous top 100 national player … ranked 70th in the nation by Rivals, which also listed him as the fourth-best tight end in the nation and second-best player in the state of Tennessee … ESPN.com listed him as the No. 71 overall player in the nation, second-best tight end and the best player in Tennessee … 247Sports listed Briningstool as the No. 84 overall player, third-best tight end and best player in Tennessee … selected for the Under Armour All-American Game … had 39 receptions for 774 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior in 2020 … also had a 51-yard kickoff return for a score, giving him 13 touchdowns for the year … on defense had 38 tackles, seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss and a forced fumble … for his career, recorded 111 receptions for 1,955 yards and 22 receiving touchdowns … three-year starter who led his Ravenwood team to a 30-10 record and made the playoffs each year … was 6A State Runner-up in 2019 and a 6A semifinalist in 2018 … Mr. Football finalist in Tennessee for 6A as a senior… Regional 6-6A Co-MVP in 2020… all-region in 2019 and 2020 … second-team All-Mid State as a junior … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … committed to Clemson on Jan. 26, 2020 … recruited by Lemanski Hall and Danny Pearman … played for Matt Daniels at Ravenwood High School … born Dec. 9, 2002.
S, Suwanee, Ga.
Five-star athlete from Georgia ranked as the No. 17 overall player in the nation by 247Sports … Versatile athlete that will play safety at Clemson … also listed by 247Sports as the second-best linebacker in the nation and third-best player in Georgia … Rivals.com listed Carter as a five-star player, ranked as the nation’s No. 21 overall player, the top linebacker in the nation and the third-best player in Georgia … ESPN.com lists him as a four-star, the No. 103 overall player in the nation … in a 2020 state playoff game, he recorded 197 yards rushing on 17 attempts on offense and had eight tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery on defense … he accomplished that after running for 142 yards on just six carries in the regular season finale … for the season he rushed for 429 yards, a 9.3-yard average, and scored 10 touchdowns and added seven catches for 68 yards … finished the year with 11 tackles for loss, including five sacks, to go with 38 tackles in seven games … had a 79-yard interception return for a touchdown … also threw a 13-yard touchdown pass … as a junior in 2019, he recorded 73 tackles and 10 sacks in 13 games … had 51 tackles and seven tackles for loss in 11 games as a sophomore … finished his career with 162 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, including 18 sacks … 116 of his tackles were solos … selected to play in the All-American Bowl … committed to Clemson on May 19, 2020 … recruited by Mickey Conn and Brent Venables ... played for Bill Stewart at North Gwinnett High School … born Oct. 23, 2002.
QB, Bogart, Ga.
Two-sport athlete who will play both football and baseball at Clemson … originally committed to Georgia to play baseball … plays quarterback in football and shortstop/pitcher in baseball … has been clocked in the low 90s on the mound … ranked as No. 201 overall football player in the nation by 247Sports, which also listed him as the 11th-best pro style quarterback and 17th-best player in Georgia … four-star player according to ESPN.com … for his career, completed 227-of-434 passes for 3,605 yards and 40 touchdowns and rushed 139 times for 983 yards and nine rushing touchdowns … as a senior in 2020, completed 116-of-229 passes for 1,842 yards and 18 touchdowns while also rushing 79 times for 548 yards and six scores on the ground … named team captain by his teammates as a senior … Region 8 4A Offensive Player of the Year … preseason all-state selection… as a junior, completed 167-of-220 passes for 2,098 yards and 27 touchdowns and added 505 rushing yards with four rushing touchdowns … played baseball sparingly in spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic … hit .435 and struck out 16 in seven innings … in 2019, he hit .356 as a shortstop and posted a 7-0 record as a pitcher with 55 strikeouts in 41.1 innings … played in the Baseball Factory All-Star Game in Frisco, Texas, an event that welcomes the top 40 high school players in the nation … started on the basketball team as a freshman and sophomore ... committed to Clemson on May 20, 2020 … recruited by Mickey Conn and Brandon Streeter … also had football offers from Louisville, Miami and Mississippi … played for Tyler Aurandt at North Oconee High School … born Sept. 14, 2002.
WR, South Central Los Angeles, Calif.
A national top 50 player according to ESPN.com … played two high school seasons with Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei … Rivals.com listed him as the No. 57 overall player in the nation, as well as the tenth-best receiver and third-best player in the state of California … ESPN.com ranked him No. 46 overall and as the third-best receiver in the nation and the fifth-best player in California … did not have a 2020 high school season due to the COVID-19 pandemic … as a junior in 2019, had 41 receptions for 1,008 yards and 14 touchdowns … averaged 24.6 yards per reception … helped team to state title, a 13-1 record and a No. 1 national ranking in 2019 … had five 100-yard games … had biggest game against Liberty High with four catches for 178 yards, when all four receptions went for a touchdown including a career-long 80-yard catch … had at least one touchdown reception in nine of the 14 games … selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Game … committed to Clemson on Jan. 25, 2020 … recruited by Tyler Grisham and Todd Bates … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … signed with Clemson on Dec. 16, 2020, his 18th birthday … played for Jason Negro at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif. … born Dec. 16, 2002.
WR, Atlanta, Ga.
Four-star prospect according to every major recruiting service … ranked as the No. 129 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com … also ranked by ESPN.com as the 23rd-best receiver and 17th-best player in Georgia … 247Sports ranked him as a four-star prospect … rated No. 207 overall and a four-star prospect by Rivals.com … invited to play in the Under Armour All-America Game … had a strong four-year career in the football-rich state of Georgia, with his reception and yardage totals increasing each season … has recorded 109 receptions for 1,990 yards and 20 touchdowns in 37 career games, averaging a strong 18.3 yards per catch for his career … in the first 11 games of the 2020 season, he had 48 catches for 842 yards and eight scores, averaging 17.5 yards per catch for a team that is currently 11-1… had his best game against Johns Creek, when he recorded 153 receiving yards and a touchdown on eight catches … had at least three catches in every game in 2020 … . as a junior in 2019, had 39 catches for 696 yards and six scores in 12 games … had catches in all 12 games in 2019, finishing with a streak of 23 straight games with a catch over his last two years … as a sophomore, caught 14 passes for 304 receiving yards and six scores … had eight receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … committed to Clemson on Sept. 7, 2019 … recruited by Mike Reed and Tyler Grisham … played for Bobby May at Westlake High School, the same high school that produced former Clemson cornerback and 2020 first-round pick A.J. Terrell and fellow 2021 signee Nathaniel Wiggins … born Nov. 4, 2002.
DE, Plant City, Fla.
National top 100 player according to ESPN.com and 247Sports … ESPN.com listed him as the No. 82 overall player in the nation, the 10th-best defensive end and the 15th-best player in Florida … ranked as the No. 89 overall player by 247Sports, and was also listed as the eighth-best defensive end in the nation and 13th-best player in Florida … ranked No. 188 overall nationally by Rivals.com, which also ranked him as the No. 10 defensive end … rated as a four-star prospect by all services … five-year letterman at Lakeland Christian, as he played in nine games as an eighth grader … played 48 games overall, recording 282 career tackles, 26.5 sacks, seven caused fumbles and four fumble recoveries … played seven games and had 40 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss, in pandemic-shortened 2020 season … had 92 tackles in 12 games, including 11 sacks and three caused fumbles in 2019 … had three double-figure tackle games that season, and had a career-high four sacks against King’s Academy … as a sophomore in 2018, had career-high 95 tackles in 11 games with 6.5 sacks and three caused fumbles … had three double-figure tackle games, including a career-high 13 stops against Berkeley Prep … had 44 tackles and seven sacks in nine games as a freshman, including a three-sack performance against Land O’ Lakes High School … had 11 tackles in nine games as an eighth grader in 2016 … invited to play in the Under Armour All-America Game … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … committed to Clemson on Jan. 26, 2020, the same day as fellow signee Jake Briningstool … recruited by Lemanski Hall and Mike Reed … played football, basketball and baseball in high school … played for Danny Williams at Lakeland Christian School … born Aug. 30, 2002.
OL, Damascus, Md.
Ranked as the No. 120 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com, which listed him as the best center in the nation and the fifth-best player from Maryland … 247Sports ranked him as the eighth-best center in the nation and 21st-best player from Maryland … ESPN.com ranked him among its top 300 prospects nationally as well as the fourth-best center in the nation and 14th-best player from Maryland … invited to play in the Under Armour All-America Game … did not have a 2020 high school season due to COVID-19 pandemic … committed to Clemson on Sept. 23, 2019 … recruited by Robbie Caldwell and Mike Reed … played football, basketball and lacrosse in high school … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … played for Josh Klotz at Damascus High School … became Clemson’s second signee from Damascus in a two-year span, joining 2020 signee Bryan Bresee … born Sept. 7, 2002.
RB, Loganville, Ga.
Unanimous top 300 player nationally … ranked No. 178 by 247Sports, which also listed him as the 11th-best running back in the nation and 16th-best player in Georgia … ranked No. 148 by Rivals.com, which ranked him as the eighth-best running back in the nation and twelvth-best player in Georgia … ESPN300 member who was listed as a four-star prospect by all services … in three years at Grayson High, rushed for 2,526 yards on 288 carries, an 8.8-yard average, and scored 37 total touchdowns … had 10 100-yard rushing games in 29 career games … also recorded 20 career receptions for 224 yards and four scores … rushed for 1,130 yards on 130 attempts (8.7 per rush) in 2020, scoring 18 touchdowns and notching five 100-yard rushing games … team currently sits at 12-0 in 2020 and is ranked second in the state by MaxPreps … had career-high 222 rushing yards on 16 carries against McEachern, a 13.9-yard average, with two scores … followed that with games of 23 rushes for 175 yards, 19 for 142 yards and 20 for 146 yards … had 676 yards and a 10-yard average in 2019, missing four games with a broken collarbone … recorded 720 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018 … committed to Clemson on Aug. 29, 2019 as the Tigers first commit of the 2021 recruiting class … recruited by Mickey Conn and Tony Elliott … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … played for Adam Carter at Grayson High School … . attended same high school as several former Clemson players, including current New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman … born Oct. 24, 2002.
S, Austin, Texas
Ranked as No. 152 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com, which also ranked him as the fifth-best safety in the nation … ranked No. 205 and as the 14th-best safety by 247Sports … four-star player according to ESPN.com and 247Sports … won District Offensive Player of the Year as a senior … had 27 receptions for 427 yards and six scores … added 20 carries for 173 yards and two scores … on defense, had 60 tackles, six interceptions and four caused fumbles … in the state quarterfinals he had two interceptions on defense and also scored on a diving 19-yard catch on offense … District 12-5A Newcomer of the Year in Texas in 2019 … had 32 receptions for 635 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense … added 80 tackles, five interceptions and three forced fumbles on defense … had two touchdowns on kick returns as well … All-State as a receiver that year … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … committed to Clemson on Sept. 1, 2020 … recruited by Mickey Conn and Brent Venables … played for Jahmal Fenner at Lyndon B. Johnson High School … born Dec. 7, 2002.
DT, Greensboro, N.C.
National top 40 player according to ESPN.com … four-star recruit by all services … ranked No. 30 in the nation by ESPN.com, the third-highest-ranked Clemson player in the class … Rivals.com ranked him the No. 50 player in the nation … ESPN.com listed Page as the fourth-best defensive tackle in the nation and third-best player in North Carolina … Rivals.com listed Page as the fourth-best defensive tackle and second-best player in North Carolina … invited to play in the Under Armour All-America Game … did not have a 2020 high school season due to the COVID-19 pandemic … three-year starter … had 191 career tackles, including 55 tackles for loss … had at least one tackle for loss in every game his sophomore and junior seasons, a streak of 27 straight games … had 71 tackles, including 26 tackles for loss, in 2019 … had 80 tackles as a sophomore in 2018, including 26 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in the 14 games … model of consistency who had a sack in 10 different games that year … as a freshman in 2017, posted 40 tackles, including three tackles for loss, in 11 games … Dudley posted a 30-10 record over his three years on the team … plans to enroll at Clemson in January 2021 … committed to Clemson on July 28, 2020 … recruited by Robbie Caldwell and Todd Bates … played for Steven Davis at Dudley High School … graduate of the same high school as College Football Hall of Famer and current Clemson Assistant Athletic Director for Player Relations Jeff Davis … selected Clemson over Tennessee and North Carolina … born Sept. 27, 2002.
DE, Winston-Salem, N.C.
National top 100 player according to 247Sports, which listed him as the nation’s No. 97 overall player, the sixth-best defensive end and the sixth-best player from North Carolina … also top 300 player nationally according to ESPN.com … rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN.com and 247Sports … invited to play in the Under Armour All-America Game … did not have a fall 2020 high school season due to the COVID-19 pandemic … had 181 career tackles, 43 tackles for loss, including 25 sacks, three interceptions and 10 caused fumbles in 21 games over two seasons … in 2019, had 129 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss and nine sacks … also had three interceptions for 78 return yards … recorded a remarkable nine caused fumbles … had his best game against Bishop McGuinness when he recorded a career-high 20 tackles, six tackles for loss, four sacks and three caused fumbles … also had 14 tackles, including five tackles for loss, against West Columbia that year … had 69 tackles in his last five games of the 2019 season … had 52 tackles, including 16 sacks, and three blocked punts in nine games as a sophomore in 2018 … also played three years of high school basketball … averaged 5.4 points and 7.2 rebounds in 2019-20 … committed to Clemson on May 26, 2020 … recruited by Lemanski Hall and Mike Reed … played for De’Ron Middleton at Winston-Salem Prep … born Oct. 22, 2002.
OL, Memphis, Tenn.
Ranked among the top 215 players in the nation by 247Sports and ESPN.com … ranked No. 135 in the nation by 247Sports, the eighth-best offensive lineman and fourth-best player in Tennessee … ESPN.com ranked him as a top 300 player, the ninth-best at his position and sixth-best player in Tennessee … four-star signee according to ESPN.com and 247Sports … named Mr. Football for D2-AA in Tennessee in 2020 after being the runner-up for the honor in 2019 … preseason and postseason all-state honoree in 2019 … two-way starter on 2019 D2-AA state title team … MVP of the D2-AA West Region in 2019 and 2020 … postseason all-state D2-AA selection in 2018 … helped team to 9-4 record his senior year … graded at 93 percent or better for every game his junior and senior seasons … also recruited by LSU, Auburn, Florida State and Georgia … also played basketball and threw shotput and discus … along with classmate Jake Briningstool, gives Clemson two signees from Tennessee for the second time under Dabo Swinney, joining the 2017 signing class that produced two of Clemson’s top 16 players in career receiving yardage (Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers, both of whom hailed from the Knoxville area) … committed to Clemson on July 29, 2020 … recruited by Lemanski Hall and Robbie Caldwell … played for Trey Adams at Evangelical Christian School … born Nov. 16, 2002.
WR, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
National top 300 player by all services … ranked No. 135 overall by Rivals.com, which listed him as the 20th-best player in Florida and 17th-best receiver in the nation … ranked No. 228 by 247Sports and No. 239 by ESPN.com … four-star signee according to ESPN.com and Rivals … posted 112 career receptions for 1,758 yards and 19 scores in 33 games … MaxPreps Preseason second-team All-American for 2020 … recorded 26 receptions for 325 yards and five scores in his first six games of a pandemic-shortened 2020 season … as a junior, recorded 42 receptions for 727 yards and nine scores, a 17.3 yards-per-reception average, in 13 games … as a sophomore, had 44 receptions for 706 yards and five scores in 14 games … had a career-long 77-yard catch and a 16.0 average that season … committed to Clemson on June 5, 2020 … recruited by Brent Venables and Tyler Grisham … played for Matt DuBuc at Cardinal Gibbons High School … born May 4, 2002.