July 23, 2016

Commitment Profile: Tee Higgins

5-star WR commit Tee Higgins (Photo: Knoxville News Sentinel)

5-star WR commit Tee Higgins (Photo: Knoxville News Sentinel)


Name: Tee Higgins
Location: Knoxville, TN (Oak Ridge)
Position: Wide Receiver
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 191lbs
40 Time: 4.60 seconds
Honors: Mr. Football 2015, All-State Selection, Junior All-American, The Opening Invitee, Mr. Basketball Finalist 2015

247: ★★★★★ #3 WR, #17 Overall
Rivals: ★★★★ #7 WR, #40 Overall
ESPN: ★★★★ #3 WR, #23 Overall

Film Room

Check out the smoothness Higgins shows in this over the shoulder grab for a touchdown


This play looks an awful lot like Mike Williams TD against OU in ’14. Simple curl route with an extremely physical run after


Here you’ll see Higgins slightly outruns the throw so he elevates to reach over the defender, all while maintaining his balance upon landing. Oh, and he breaks a tackle.


Here’s Higgins in the open field. While he’s certainly not the quickest receiver around, he’s fluid and can “out-stride” most defenders. 


And just for good measure…


Prospect Outlook
If you haven’t figured it out already, this kid can flat out play. Crazy to think that Clemson could walk into Knoxville, Tennessee and pull out a player of this caliber right from under Butch Jones’ nose. The Vols try to tout themselves as the real WRU, but Higgins commitment to Clemson is living proof that the real WRU resides in Death Valley. As far as how Higgins fits into the offensive scheme, he’s slated to slide right into the 9, or boundary, position that is currently manned by Mike Williams, Deon Cain, and Trevion Thompson. Williams will be playing on Sundays next season and in my estimation either Cain or Thompson will slide over to the 5 position to make room for Higgins in the two deep. All the tools are there, and the comparisons to AJ Green are certainly warranted. I’ve gone on record saying his high school film is as impressive as any prospect I’ve seen since Sammy Watkins and he still has his senior season left to play. You just don’t find many legitimate 6’5″ wideouts that are as smooth and developed as Tee. This is one of those prospects that will be ready to contribute right out of the box, no assembly acquired. He’ll have to add weight to his frame, but after seeing the development of Mike Williams who exited Lake Marion at a whopping 175lbs, I don’t think anyone should be too worried about the outlook on that front.

**Make sure you head over to the SUR Recruiting Forums for the latest up to date Clemson recruiting info and discussion**

Throwback Thursday – The Commitments

We take a step back in time to look at some of the biggest commitments in recent Clemson history as the Tigers begin to build the program.

Featured image: Miami Herald

Clemson Minute: Defense must contain big plays

Opponents completed only 48.5% of their passes against Clemson during the 2015 season, but 48 of those passes, an average of 3.2 per game, went for 20 or more yards, including 7 in the National Championship Game vs. Alabama.

Listen in below as we detail just how costly those 48 plays were and how losing 3 defensive backs is likely to effect these numbers.

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The Importance of Sacks

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Clemson have to somehow replace 32.5 sacks lost to the NFL or the expiration of eligibility from the defense that helped make the run to the national title game in 2015.

How important are sacks? Incredibly important.

It should be intuitive that sacks are more important than a quarterback pressure. By definition, on a sack your opponent loses a down and at least a yard and perhaps many yards (Clemson had multiple 14 yard sacks in 2015). If you’re a quarterback would you rather throw an incompletion under pressure and face second and ten or be sacked and face a second and 16? Exactly. This is also part of the reason that a quarterbacks completion percentage is not the be all and end all of measurables for a quarterback. Getting rid of the ball and taking an incompletion is almost always better than taking a sack. To a defense a sack is more important than a pressure in almost every situation.

While pressuring a quarterback may result in an incompletion, or perhaps an interception and maybe even a touchdown, a sack always results in a loss of yardage, sometimes a fumble and occasionally a defensive touchdown. But those are somewhat rare occurrences. Typically a sack ends in a down and yardage lost making it more difficult for your opponent to gain a first down and ultimately score. I expected the data to show this, but not to the extent it does.

For those wondering, I do track the official “pressures” recorded by a team, but it’s my opinion that this metric is almost completely useless and is awarded subjectively and unevenly across official scorers. A pressure at Boston College may not be considered a pressure at Clemson or vice versa, but everyone knows what a sack is and when it’s recorded. For these reasons, I did not attempt the same exercise with pressures.

Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com

Projected 2016 Metrics – Wayne Gallman

The numbers below are based on Wayne Gallman’s history at Clemson, the 2016 schedule as we know it and a variety of other factors. While most remember Gallman’s 1,527 yards, fewer remember almost 400 came in games 13-15.

Individual opponents strengths and weaknesses and Clemson’s running back depth are taken into account when deriving the numbers below.

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Finding a Champion (Part 1): The National Champion is in this post

I’m confident your national champion resides somewhere on this page among the 9 teams listed.  There’s not going to be a Coastal Carolina type champion in college football, which may make things less fun, but still interesting and debatable.

In our search for national title contenders I’ll use the odds from VegasInsider.com and lay out the case for (or against) the teams, but first a couple of assumptions:

  1. Only 0 or 1 loss teams make the playoffs.
  2. Schedule matters. LSU may be better than Tennessee head to head, but they won’t necessarily end up with a better record, for example.
  3. I’m not saying the teams I eliminate won’t make the playoffs, they could. The object is to eliminate teams that won’t win the title one by one.

The contenders and odds:

Alabama – 7/1

Clemson – 8/1

Ohio State – 15/2

Michigan – 12/1

LSU – 12/1

Oklahoma – 12/1

Florida State – 16/1

Tennessee – 16/1

Notre Dame – 20/1

First Teams Eliminated

Phil Steele thinks LSU is a great value at 12/1, but I think he’s nuts.  Not because the Bengal Tigers won’t be good, they return 17 starters, but take a peek at the schedule: Wisconsin, at Auburn, at Florida,Ole Miss, Bama, at Arkansas and at Texas A&M.  The ESPN FPI has the Tigers LSUfavored in evePOD-SMALLry game and gives the Tigers a 5.2% chance of winning out.  I’m not buying it, not even 5.2% worth. Despite the presence of Leonard Fournette, a shaky quarterback and questionable coaching will doom LSUs hope for a title.

Clemson fans are getting a kick out of the love for Oklahoma after the last two years Sooner kickings.  Neither of those mean OU won’t be a good team in 2016, but are reasons for caution.  A bigger reason for caution is the schedule: If the Sooners make it through game 1 (Houston, neutral site in Houston), they still face Ohio State, at TCU, Texas (neutral), Baylor (who knows), a tricky trip to West Virginia and Oklahoma State. As with LSU, ESPN FPI favors the Sooners in every game and gives Stoops team a 16.9% chance of winning out, which is important because of no Big 12 Championship Game.  I’m betting the Sooners don’t run the table and if they make the playoff will again be defeated in the first game.

Michigan will likely be 7-0 when they visit East Lansing on October 22. Two weeks after that they travel to Iowa and two weeks after that they travel to Columbus.  The Wolverines won’t win their division and won’t make the playoff.

Tennessee is another team that ESPNs FPI says should win them all, but only gives a 4.5% chance of winning out.  Tennessee’s schedule is light up front, but then there’s a four week stretch of Florida, at Georgia, at TexaTennessees A&M and Alabama (no bye in those four weeks).  Perhaps if there was a bye week in there, but that’s a tough stretch and with an unproven team in the crunch it’s impossible to give the Vols the benefit of the doubt.  And, oh yeah, if they win the East that means they are likely to get a rematch with Bama or meet up with LSU and I’m betting that neither will work out well for Tennessee.

We’ve eliminated 4 teams that have 20/1 or better odds per Vegas.  In part 2, I’ll dig into the final 5 and make the case for a long shot.

Commitment Profile: Noah DeHond

Name: Noah DeHond
Location: Hightstown, NJ(The Peddie School)
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 317lbs

247:★★★ #44 OT, #370 Overall
Rivals:★★★ #45 OT
ESPN:★★★ #46 OT

Film Room
DeHond shows his ability to block in the run game, able to quickly get low and put the defender on his back. 


Example of DeHond in pass protection, using feet well to stay in position against the defender. Can see obvious strength as he tosses the defender aside. 


DeHond in pass pro and finishing his block on the defensive end. 


Prospect Outlook
Similar to Vinson who was profiled earlier this week, DeHond is rated as a 3-star offensive lineman but possesses the ceiling to become a force at Clemson. Regardless of recruiting rankings, he chose the Tigers over offers from top notch programs such as Ohio St., Alabama, and Notre Dame. Suffice to say that many saw DeHond’s potential at the next level. The thing that immediately sticks out with DeHond is his enormous size, standing at a massive 6’7″ and 317 pounds. You can’t coach size. Simply put, good luck to defenders once Coach Caldwell coaches him up. Generally when dealing with a lineman of that stature, they have difficulty with agility and have slow feet. As seen in above clips, DeHond displays better than expected footwork for a guy of his stature, as well as impressive flexibility to get low and shove a defender into the ground. He’ll be an enjoyable player to observe once he steps on campus and begins to put the tools together to be a dominant power on the line. As nearly all offensive linemen do, expect DeHond to redshirt his freshman year and then vie for one of the spots at tackle.

**Make sure you head over to the SUR Recruiting Forums for the latest up to date Clemson recruiting info and discussion**

Projected 2016 ACC Football Standings

Editor’s Note: Nic Mills is a senior PRTM major, student assistant with Clemson Athletic Communication, (formerly known as the Clemson Sports Information Department) and has a long family history of Clemson grads. Nic is also an intern with The Mickey Plyler Show and Out of Bounds on 105.5 The Roar each weekday morning. You can follow Nic on Twitter @mrnicmills.

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It was really tough to choose between Clemson and Florida State and I know the game is in Tallahassee where Clemson hasn’t won since 2006.  However,  as long as Deshaun Watson is Clemson’s quarterback I can’t picture Clemson losing. I’ll be tough, but the Tigers come out with a perfect regular season 2 years in a row.2016 ACC Standings

newaccbrandThe Coastal Division is once again chaos, but a little bit prettier chaos this year. Miami loses to Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech loses to North Carolina and North Carolina loses to Miami.  The result will be a 3 way tie where Miami wins the tie breaker due to having a higher ranking in the polls.

In the end it doesn’t matter as Clemson cruises to a second straight ACC title and berth in the 3rd annual College Football Playoff.

4-Year Recruiting Analysis: Clemson versus their rivals

"Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney leads the team on the field. The Clemson Tigers played host to the Syracuse Orange at Memorial Stadium in Clemson Saturday, October 25, 2014. Gwinn Davis / Special to the Post and Courier "

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney leads the team on the field. Photo: Gwinn Davis/gwinndavisphotos.com


It’s no secret that recruiting is, and always has been, the root of success on the football field at the collegiate level. That has become increasingly obvious over the better part of the last decade, especially in the small state of South Carolina. Down in Columbia we witnessed a serious uptick in talent, as well as coaching, for the majority of Steve Spurrier’s tenure before a colossal drop-off came about at the tail end of his tenure. It wasn’t too long ago that the Gamecocks went on a magical run that included 33 wins in a three year span (2011-13).  Back then they had top notch talent such as Jadeveon Clowney, Alshon Jeffrey, Stephon Gilmore, and Marcus Lattimore among others to lead the way. Towards the end of Spurrier’s run in Columbia the glaring deficit in talent became painstakingly obvious as their 5-game win streak against Clemson came to an abrupt stop at the hands of 3 freshmen, one of which played with a torn ACL. I’d go as far to say that the tune of this rivalry immediately shifted all the way back in favor of “that team in the Upstate” when players like Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, and Artavis Scott ran all over the Gamecocks. Staying on the subject of the Palmetto Bowl, the Tigers’ recruiting classes have consistently outranked their feathered foes.  In fact, you have to go all the way back to the 2010 class to find the last time South Carolina finished with a better overall class than Clemson.** And it’s no surprise that those rankings have directly reflected themselves on the field over the last couple seasons.

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While a ragtag bunch of Gamecocks certainly gave a top-ranked Clemson team all they wanted in Columbia last November, it’s become no secret that the two programs have been heading in completely different directions as of late. Perhaps that is why South Carolina AD Ray Tanner made the move towards a recruiting oriented coaching staff with his hire of Will Muschamp. It will be worth keeping an eye on Muschamp’s recruiting hauls over the first few years of his career, because he’ll need to revamp the talent level on the roster and quick.

With all that said, we’ll take a more in depth look at the talent acquisitions of Clemson and some of their most prominent rivals In the chart below. This should give you a better feel for how Clemson’s recruiting efforts stack up against those opponents. Take away from the numbers whatever you so please. Side note: I included UGA for the mere fact that they seem to go head to head with Clemson on the most recruits year in year out.

**Based on 247 Sports Composite rankings, which accounts for rankings from multiple recruiting services

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Statistical data based off of 247 Sports Composite Rankings


**Make sure you listen to our latest SUR Podcast for tons of recruiting nuggets and college football discussion. You can also head over to SUR Recruiting Forums for the latest in Clemson recruiting news**

Throwback Thursday

In the 2013 opener Tajh Boyd sidearms a pass to Sammy Watkins who promptly bowls over a Georgia defender and goes 77 yards for the score.

Featured image: Cleveland.com

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