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Whether Clemson remains in the ACC or they jump to the Big 12, the Tigers need more athletes to get after the quarterback. They took a huge step in that direction by landing three defensive end prospects in the last two weeks, including the nation’s consensus No. 1 overall recruit.
Robert Nkemdiche out of Loganville, Ga. shocked most recruiting analysts when he committed to the Tigers two weeks ago. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder is a beast that had 78 tackles, with 36 of those resulting in lost yardage, and 18 sacks in 2011. The Under Armour All American has the deadly combination of great athletic ability and a great motor. Clemson fans realize that his recruitment is not over until he signs on the dotted line and schools like Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Texas, and Oregon will not give up.
There is a very good chance that in a couple of years 6-foot-3, 250-pound Elijah Daniel will be lining up on the other end of the Clemson defensive line, as the Avon, Ind. product committed to the Tigers last week. ESPN ranks Daniel as the No. 6 defensive end prospect this year and has him as the No. 85 overall recruit. Like his future teammate Nkemdiche, Daniel will participate in the Under Armour All American game next January. His offers included Florida, Oklahoma, Miami, and Tennessee.
Clemson supporters are on cloud nine about these two commitments, but they are also very pleased about grabbing four-star defensive end Dane Rogers from Shelby, N.C. While not as heralded as the other two, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Rogers knows how to get after the quarterback. He chose Clemson over North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, and Rutgers.
While in Loganville, Ga. wooing Nkemdiche, the Clemson staff also successfully recruited cornerback David Kamara. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder had 53 tackles and four interceptions for Grayson High School last fall and is rated as a three-star prospect by most of the major services. His other offers included Mississippi, Mississippi State, Illinois, and Wake Forest. While Kamara and Nkemdiche were not considered a package deal, getting the lower ranked corner did not hurt Clemson’s chances with the prized defensive end and will only help in their efforts to retain him through Signing Day.
USC is at it again, accepting a commitment from another ESPN 150 prospect. 5-foot-11, 185-pound wide receiver Sebastian LaRue from Santa Monica, Calif. is the latest star to pledge to the Trojans. 18 of LaRue’s 60 catches in 2011 resulted in touchdowns, proving that he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. LaRue is another Under Armour All American and is USC’s tenth commitment, eight of which are ranked in the ESPN 150. He also considered UCLA, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington State.
Watch out for the Pirate of the Palouse. New Washington State head coach Mike Leach is on a recruiting roll and it was spearheaded by a commitment from a four-star prospect that plays the most important position in any, but especially Leach’s, offense. Phoenix quarterback Tyler Bruggman will head north to Pullman, Wash. for his collegiate career. At 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, Bruggman does not have ideal size nor does he have the world’s most powerful arm, but he is a good decision maker and is very accurate, a skill that is treasured by Leach. Last fall, Bruggman had an impressive 37 to 2 touchdown to interception ratio. His other college choices included Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Michigan State, and UCLA.
The Cougars also added a stalwart on defense in middle linebacker Peyton Pelluer from power Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Pelluer comes from a strong football family. Peyton’s father Scott played at Washington State and in the NFL, his brother Tyler played at Montana, and his brother Cooper plays for Apple Cup rival Washington. Pelluer selected WSU over Colorado, Arizona State, and Wyoming.
South Carolina added a chip for their defense in linebacker Larenz Bryant of Charlotte, N.C. ESPN ranks Bryant as the No. 13 inside linebacker in the class of 2013, but at his current size of 6-foot-1, 204-pounds, it is unclear if Bryant will be able to bulk up enough to play inside. If not, he will move outside where he will be better able to use his speed and athleticism. Regardless of his size, Bryant was highly coveted with offers from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech.
Penn State got a huge commitment from offensive tackle Dorian Johnson of Belle Vernon, Pa. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Johnson is another Under Armour All American that is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 tackle and No. 26 prospect regardless of position by ESPN. Johnson picked Penn State over Pittsburgh and Ohio State.
Oklahoma got the good word from two Texas recruits including Irish target Jordan Mastrogiovanni. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder that ranks as ESPN’s No. 7 inside linebacker also looked at TCU and Texas A&M. Manvel, Texas wide receiver Austin Bennett selected Oklahoma over West Virginia, TCU, and Mississippi.
And Nebraska took a long snapper from virtually out of the shadows of the Golden Dome. Gabriel Miller from Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind. committed to the Cornhuskers
over Eastern Michigan.
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