The defending national champions have another talented recruiting class to help them reload
After signing just 17 players in 2018 and 14 in '17, the time came when Clemson needed to replenish the numbers. With all the letters of intent in, the champs have 29 athletes that enrolled in school in January or will find their way to campus this summer.
Interestingly, thanks to the star power of Trevor Lawrence, Xavier Thomas, Justyn Ross, and four other top-100 prospects, the class of 2018 was ranked higher (seventh per 247Sports) than this year’s group (10th). That speaks more to the quality in last year’s class as there are several incoming freshmen that could make an impact next fall.
Here are five newcomers (in alphabetical order) to watch in 2019.
Andrew Booth, CB
The No. 23 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite ranking, the Lawrenceville, Georgia, product is the highest ranked recruit in the class. Booth has good size (6-1, 188), and with Trayvon Mullen moving on to the NFL, there will be a battle for playing time at corner.
Tyler Davis, DT
The same is true on the interior of the defensive line. Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, and Albert Huggins are done and Nyles Pinckney is the only returning player with a decent amount of experience. The 6-foot-1, 293-pound Davis — who was heavily recruited by many of the top schools in America — may find himself in position to contend for reps.
Sheridan Jones, CB
The Norfolk, Virginia, cornerback had all the offers you would want: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Oklahoma as well as Clemson. He has a frame similar to that of Booth but he will need to add a little bit more size and strength. But he does have a bit of a leg up on Booth in that he enrolled early and will participate in spring drills.
Frank Ladson, WR
Clemson returns a ton of talent at wide receiver, but Ladson may be too good to keep on the bench. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Miami native has the frame and athletic ability to thrive as an outside target. Joseph Ngata is another highly ranked receiver in this class that will have a tough jumping the established stars on the Clemson depth chart.
William Putnam, OG
It’s rare that a freshman offensive lineman sees valuable minutes. But Dabo Swinney will play the best guys regardless of class as evidenced by the fact that Mitch Hyatt was the starting left tackle his freshman year. At a shade over 6-foot-3, Putnam is definitely a guard, but a talented one that could have chosen any of a number of the top programs in the ACC and the SEC.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, covering the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.