Nearly 50 prospects have chosen the SEC over Clemson


South Carolina fans are loving this.

Clemson–a strong program that absolutely must do battle with SEC schools for top recruits–has had 47 recruits spurn its scholarship offers to pick SEC programs instead. That’s right, nearly 50 prospects have had the opportunity to go to Death Valley and play for in front of a rabid fanbase, but have opted to take their talents to the SEC.

Related: 23 former SEC players to play in Senior Bowl

And when it comes to how the Tigers go head to head with the Gamecocks? Five of their state’s top 15 prospects are going to Columbia, only two are heading to Clemson. In fact, nine of the Palmetto state’s top 15 prospects are heading to the SEC.

Here’s a look at the nearly 50 prospects who have chosen SEC schools instead of accepting a scholarship offer to Clemson:

Related: SEC dominates recent NFL mock drafts

Editor’s note: All references to ratings are to the composite ranking.

ATH Bo Scarbrough Alabama
LB Christian Miller Alabama
DE Da’Shawn Hand Alabama
DT Johnny Dwight Alabama
ATH Ronnie Clark Alabama
LB Shaun Dion Hamilton Alabama
LB Deshaun Davis Auburn
DT Dontavius Russell Auburn
RB Racean Thomas Auburn
DB Stephen Roberts Auburn
LB Tre Williams Auburn
OL David Sharpe Florida
DB J.C. Jackson Florida
DB Jalen Tabor Florida
DT Khairi Clark Florida
WR Moral Stephens Florida
OL Nolan Kelleher Florida
DB Quincy Wilson Florida
DT Thomas Holley Florida
TE Jeb Blazevich Georgia
DE Keyon Brown Georgia
DT Lamont Gaillard Georgia
WR Blake Bone Kentucky
RB Stanley Williams Kentucky
LB Clifton Garrett LSU
DE Deondre Clark LSU
DB Edward Paris LSU
WR Trey Quinn LSU
DB Kendarius Webster Mississippi
WR Markell Pack Mississippi
LB Bryson Allen-Williams South Carolina
DB D.J. Smith South Carolina
DB Darin Smalls South Carolina
OL Donell Stanley South Carolina
DE Kalan Ritchie South Carolina
TE Kevin Crosby South Carolina
WR Shaq Davidson South Carolina
ATH Terry Googer South Carolina
DB Cortez McDowell Tennessee
DE Cory Thomas Tennessee
DB D’Andre Payne Tennessee
DB Evan Berry Tennessee
WR Josh Malone Tennessee
OL Orlando Brown Tennessee
DB Todd Kelly Tennessee
DB Armani Watts Texas A&M
RB Varshaun Nixon Texas A&M


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  • This is good to know if your a South Carolina fan or SEC fan, but if your a Clemson fan I think that this is troubling news if you don’t already know. But I don’t think it just Clemson that is losing the recruiting battle against SEC teams.

    • Armyguy … this is first in a series of articles.


        I mean does this site not have an editor who’d say, “You know this article makes absolutely no sense?”

      • As Walt Deptula from WCCPFM just said on radio, cangrats Brian McLaughlin this is the dumbest article I have ever read. I agree, it makes zero sense, did you not know that Clemson is taking a small class? Also why did you ignore the 18 commits that 16 are 4star that chose Clemson over SEC schools. We have 3 WR’s that are 4 star that chose Clemson, the #1 QB, 3 RB’s that chose Clemson over SEC, yet you ignore those. What a moron

  • I guess recruits are smarter than the people who over-rate Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas, and other programs where, if you believe the APress, they sign 300 of the espn 300 every year. Wait a minute, maybe the espn 300 is a popularity contest. I’m sure there are a hundred other examples of this,.. but Missouri kicked a lot of backsides this year with a lot of 2 star recruits more popular programs didn’t want. Wouldn’t we all like to see the voters and the raters say, we don’t know, we don’t have enough information, boys change from 18 years old to 23, x program’s coaches have developed, etc., etc., a lot more often?

    • Wolfman- Mizzou had a really good year, but if you think for one second that Mizzou is going to have a lot of seasons like this past one in the SEC, while recruiting 2 and 3 star recruits, your just crazy. There is a reason why teams like Alabama and LSU dominate college football just about every year. Because they have a ton of 4 and 5 star recruits. Yes sometimes a few of those 4 and 5 star recruits are a bust, but more often than not, they are pretty good. Mizzou had a really good season because they were able to get the most out of their 2 and 3 star recruits. But with Mizzou getting the most out of their recruits, they still weren’t as good as Auburn that has a lot of 4 and 5 star talent. While you may not like the recruiting sites and how they rate players, it is still important and most of the time they are right.

  • This is beyond retarded. How many of Clemson’s players had SEC offers? Almost all of them. What about FSU? The same. So one could flip this extremely faulty premise and say that everyone on the rosters of Clemson and FSU chose the ACC over (insert SEC school here).

  • What a phenomenal piece of investigative journalism Brian. You deserve a Pulitzer for this.

    You could pick almost any non-elite team and find similar findings? According to 247, 46 recruits have chosen Clemson + the SEC over SCAR. 41 recruits have chose the ACC over SCAR. You could do that for any team that Not even Bama or FSU gets everyone they offer. Hell, Bama had 28 recruits chose the ACC over them.

    • Yep. Especially when you include players who did not actually have committable offers at their time of commitment. There are quite a few on this list just like that.

      • Hey Danny, and UOfSC? I grew up in Easley. Have nothing against the program and was a diehard Clemson fan for many years. But facts are facts …. there wasn’t a whole lot of opinion in this piece at all, just statement of who went where. It’s telling, isn’t it? I think the 5 (it is 5, right?) straight losses to the SEC rival might play a part in this.

        • I’m sorry, but what does where you grew up have to do with you being wrong? First, not all of the players had committable offers. But, let’s just ignore that and assume that they did. You post this as if Clemson is losing out on players to the SEC and this is some sort of a huge issue that is on the verge of being a crisis. Clemson, FSU, and Miami recruit against SEC schools. Why? Because all 3 are recruiting powers, and the other recruiting powers in the southeastern US are in the SEC. Inevitably some of these kids will end up at any of these schools who recruit against one another.

          So, let’s try this equally absurd, but technically correct headline: Over 225 recruits chose Miami, FSU, or Clemson over the SEC in the last 4 years.

          Without the other side of the coin, this looks impressive. Except it’s only indicative that these 3 SEC schools are recruiting powers just like some of their southeastern brethren who happen to be in the SEC.

          Since you are into throwing out attention grabbing headlines that don’t really convey the real picture, here’s one for you:
          25 of this year’s prospects with offers from S.Carolina chose to commit to ACC schools instead.

          Sounds like a crisis. Only it’s not. At all.

        • Correction: “Except it’s only indicative that these 3 ACCC schools are recruiting powers just like some of their southeastern brethren who happen to be in the SEC.”

          A message board that doesn’t allow editing. Fitting.

        • Yes Brian, Dabo is 1-5 against SCAR. He is also 5-1 against all other SEC teams. You can’t blow the SEC’s horn because SCAR is beating Clemson but discount the fact that Clemson has also beat 2 top 10 SEC teams and also ended Auburn’s 17ish game winning streak.

      • Clemson also played terrible that night, just like they did in Columbia. The difference was that FSU was much, much better than Clemson across the board, and SCAR was not. Even with Clemson committing 6 turnovers, the Clemson/South Carolina game was tied in the 4th quarter. Connor Shaw was the best player on the field that night and was the reason SCAR won.

        The best team is now in the ACC. Should kids go to UVA so they can try to upset FSU? You act like their are no other factors that come into play like depth chart, academics, location, etc.

      • FYI….Clemson has 80+ players that picked Clemson over an SEC offer. Of course Clemson and SEC schools are going to have tons of crossover recruiting battles….they all recruit in the same pool. Similarly, tons of players on ACC rosters picked their schools over Clemson (and, yes, even SEC schools), as well. And I don’t even know what to make of you listing the SEC schools that have won national championships since Clemson’s. You do realize that you make a similar list for other ACC schools. I’ll help… the 32 years since Clemson won the National Championship, FSU has won 3, Miami has won 5, and GT has won one. Miami and FSU have played for several others, as well. Yet, somehow, Clemson has managed to win their fair share against these teams over the years. And, the notion that UK and Vandy are pillaging Clemson’s targets…..Geez. It’s disturbing that you can’t see the flaw in your reasoning despite the fact that many have pointed it out here. It’s also disturbing that you’re “talking to the kids” as you’ve indicated above. “Journalists” with the kind of bias you’ve exhibited here have no place talking to recruits….zero.

  • LMAO. Y’all Clemson fans getting upset is funny.

  • This might be about the dumbest piece of literature I have ever read 1/2 of. Thanks for wasting 45 seconds of my life!

  • Don’t you silly people know anything? These recruits couldn’t meet the high academic standards of Clem5on

  • This has to be a joke – a spoof! Or the author is not really a “journalist”. There are about three names on this list that premier athletes that show up on everyones short list and the rest are . . . well who knows? Anyone who is really “analyzing” recruiting would be looking at teams needs and available scholly’s before even starting a series such as this. Additionally, if we’re serious about what it means, one needs to determine how many offers were actually made by the school in question and the school eventually selected. Clearly SDS either needs to fill space, owes this blogger a favor or thinks that a little levity is appropriate.

  • actually army guy we do intend on winning every year with our two star recruits. we’ve been consistently winning for many years ( barring an inordinate amount of injuries) . and I think the reason is that many of those two star recruits stay for 4 to 5 years. 5 star recruits generally dont stay four years. in this amount of time look at the physical changes of these players. musle added, weight added, speed increased. all done slowly and methodically. which is why our weight coach earned post season accolades. also why we graduate more players than nearly all other schools country wide. which means we also develop their intelligence

    • and it’s that intelligence that really throws the sec a curve. prime example is DGB. while he is physically developed I understand he struggles in the classroom. which shows when he gives interviews. just like most of the other SEC players. when you start your sentences with “I mean” or all your answers start with “most definitely”. it just drives me crazy the college students could come across as so ignorant

  • Regardless of how many prospects choose SEC over Clemson, the Tigers have pulled some big-time prospects out of the SEC’s backyard. Sammy Watkins is the first that comes to mind, too.

  • I guess we shouldn’t count Trevion Thompson, the 4 star WR who just committed to Clemson over Florida, South Carolina, and Vandy. Clemson has done very well recruiting against the SEC.

    • Or all 18 we landed that most are 4 star and was recutied by all SEC. This article has to be a joke, cause can anyone be this stupid? Jacob Park is on the list and does this idiot not know we landed D Watson the #1 QB? Why would we even go after Park?

  • This is the dumbest article I have ever read. Hey moron, Clemson has a small calss this year and also 16 of the 18 were targeted by SEC schools and guess what, they committed to Clemson. Jacob Park is one of these listed, umm genius, Deshaun Watson chose Clemson, why would we recruit Park? This makes no sense, also Why would this be written? Why is Clemson expected to out recruit all 14 SEC teams? Why isn’t FSU listed, or Miami who are top 10 right now. Clemson is top 15, so obviously we’re pretty good in recruiting, 3 straight top 10 classes. I just don’t get this stupid article, have some common sense moron.

  • But seeing this is an SEC homer blog, it doesn’t shock me how delusional they are. Must be a jealous coot grad who is still bitter we get the national attention over you and get to BCS bowls and conference titles, that SC can’t sniff

    • Matt ….

      First … What’s a coot grad?

      Deshaun Watson isn’t the No. 1 QB in the country, Kyle Allen (Texas A&M) is the highest rated QB in the nation when you combine all the services into the composite ranking, which is what we refer to (note the note above). I mean, I guess you could pick whatever rating that you want as long as Clemson is on top of it, most fans do that so I suppose its pretty normal, but the most respectable ranking in the business has Kyle Allen as No. 1. Just sayin!

      As far as the premise of the article — most schools offer scholarships to between 150-200 athletes each year, even when the class is planned to be small. Obviously they can’t take them all, but they can’t just offer 25 kids either or they’ll have a class of 3 or 5 or something. It’s a numbers game. Do schools favor one recruit over another at a certain position … like Watson over others? Of course. Are there 2nd tier and 3rd tier guys on the offer chart? Yes. But … Clemson DID offer them, which means they were willing to take … at least in the beginning of the process … nearly 50 kids who opted not to go to Clemson, but to SEC schools.

      Stats are stats, and they can be used to support arguments in several ways, but there’s nothing factually incorrect about the article above. It is what it is. But hey, as Jon Cooper noted above, guys like Sammy Watkins could have gone to an SEC school and went to Clemson. So you guys can be proud of stuff like that. But as a whole, I think the numbers — even throwing in FSU, Miami, whoever — prove that this league has a recruiting edge. You can argue it until you’re blue in the face, but the numbers back it up, if you even care about recruiting rankings and stuff like that (which it appears you’re pretty well versed on).

      All in all? We like passionate fans here at SDS, so we invite as many Clemson fans who want to do it to keep visiting us. Vent all you want, we love it. And if you have any other constructive questions, we’ll put the answers here on this thread. Check back often!

  • By the way Brian 2013, ACC 2-0 SEC 0-2 in BCS and by the way national champs from ACC that beat SEC, tweet that moron

  • South Carolina has had nearly 30 recruits spurn them for the lowly ACC, an inferior conference by their own admission. What does it mean? Nothing, because these teams put out so many offers its impossible to land them all. Who wouldn’t offer a 5 star stud destined to go to Bama? But in the end, I’d rather be a team that lost 47 possibles to the sec than a team that lost 30 to the ACC. Such a dumb article written by a clueless tool.

  • This is pure gold. Because of how absolutely idiotic it is.

  • Clemson has recruited extremely well over the course of the past 10 years, so this article doesn’t really mean much to be honest. Their class rankings have been very good despite players they may have missed on.

    On the other hand I find it truly entertaining that this article was able to bait and catch some of the brightest and hateful tiger trolls out there.

    Like this little quote for example, “Clemson also played terrible that night, just like they did in Columbia. The difference was that FSU was much, much better than Clemson across the board, and SCAR was not. Even with Clemson committing 6 turnovers, the Clemson/South Carolina game was tied in the 4th quarter.

    Of course no credit can be given to the Gamecock team that beat the tigers and forced several of the aforementioned 6 turnovers. No, the Gamecock team just had 1 player carry them through that night and outplay everyone else. If Clemson would’ve done this, if they could’ve done that, yada..yada…yada… Ifs and buts don’t win games and of course giving credit where credit is due shows class, which is clearly lacking from this mad little tiger fan!