CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is happy with his newest group of football players. He's even happier with his program's reach has spread outside the Southeast. The Tigers group of 15 includes quarterback Hunter Johnson from Indiana and offensive linemen from New York and Ohio, areas the national champions don't usually pull people from.
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is happy with his newest group of football players. He's even happier with his program's reach has spread outside the Southeast.
The Tigers group of 15 includes quarterback Hunter Johnson from Indiana and offensive linemen from New York and Ohio, areas the national champions don't usually pull people from.
Swinney said Wednesday that he is "really excited about the brand and how the reach has really grown for us, Swinney said Wednesday.
Offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst from Cincinnati was Clemson first Ohio recruit in six years. Noah DeHond, another offensive lineman, is from Rochester, New York, and considered Alabama before joining the Tigers.
Swinney even got a surprise, mid-media session visit from returned defensive end Christian Wilkins. The junior-to-be did the same thing a year ago and the Tigers went on to win the national title. "Just a little deja vu," Wilkins said while hugging Swinney.
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: Yes
Best in class: Tee Higgins, WR, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. With two-time, 1,000-yard receiver Mike Williams off to the NFL, the Tigers were in need of a tall, lanky playmaker on the outside and the 6-foot-4 Higgins seems to fit the bill. He should get a chance to play right away.
Best of the rest: Hunter Johnson, QB, Brownsburg, Indiana. Johnson, at 6-4, 200 pounds, was rated the No. 1 quarterback in the nation according to ESPN. Already enrolled, he'll be given every chance to battle for the starting spot held by Deshaun Watson much of the past three seasons. Watson gave up his senior season for the NFL draft.
Late addition: WR Will Swinney, the 5-foot-9 coach's son, will join the squad as a walk-on. He led Daniel High school in receptions, receiving yards and TD catches last fall.
One that got away: The Tigers didn't need much and landed everybody they targeted, spending much of this recruiting cycle building on its 2018 class with verbal commitments from next year's top quarterback Trevor Lawrence of Georgia. "Fortunately, we didn't have any surprises" in this group, recruiting coordinator Brandon Streeter said.
How they'll fit in: Higgins, like NFL receiver Sammy Watkins in 2011, is expected to play and start this fall. Johnson, at quarterback, will battle redshirt sophomore Kelly Bryant, and freshmen Zerrick Cooper and Tucker Israel, to become Watson's successor. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. of Jennings, Louisiana picked the Tigers over LSU without ever visiting Clemson and will add depth.
For the full list: www.clemsontigers.com