Clemson puts together solid class on Early Signing Day

CLEMSON, SC - Clemson added some of the top recruits in the nation, including the top ranked player by most recruiting services on Wednesday's Early Signing day.

"This is awesome. We just signed up an unbelievable group of young men to come to Clemson, and it never gets old," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. "This is going to be our fourth senior class in a row leaving here as the winningest senior class in school history. But the key word there is they're leaving. So any time you have great, successful people leaving your program, it's the lifeline of your program to bring quality people in the front door. I feel like that's what we've done today."

The class is headlined by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a 5-star quarterback out of Georgia and defensive end Xavier Thomas, another 5-star recruit from IMG Academy.

Josh Belk, DT

Lewisville High School, Fort Lawn, SC

A national top 100 player by ESPN.com, he ranks No. 88 nationally, second in the state of South Carolina and the fifth best defensive tackle in the nation by that website…rated No. 139 nationally by Rivals.com, who see Belk as third best player in the state and 11th best defensive tackle in the nation…played defensive tackle for Lewisville High School where he helped team to a 9-4 season and the third round of playoffs…All-Regional and All-State by High School Sports Report (for all classes) and Coaches Class A All-State…finished the year with 116 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, seven caused fumbles, a recovered fumble and a pass deflection…probably had best game against Lamar with 10 tackles and three tackles for loss…named to the U.S. Army All-American Game…played his high school football at Lewisville for Will Mitchell…comes to Clemson from the same school that sent former Clemson All-ACC running back Wesley McFadden and former Clemson and NFL linebacker Michael Barber to Clemson…lettered in basketball as a freshman and sophomore…committed to the Tigers on 01/29/2017…recruited by Jeff Scott and Todd Bates.

Jackson Carman, OL

Fairfield Sr High, Cincinnati, Ohio

One of the top players regardless of position in the nation…one of five finalists for USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year, quite a distinction for an offensive lineman….first-team USA Today All-American…one of the top 20 players in the nation by all recruiting services…ranked 12th overall and the No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 1 player in Ohio by ESPN.com…ranked 14th overall, first in Ohio and first among all offensive tackles by Rivals.com…247sports lists him No. 20 overall, the second best offensive tackle and the top player in Ohio…US Army All-American who is a finalist for the Anthony Munoz National Lineman of the Year…played his high school football for Jason Krause….selected Clemson over Ohio State and Southern California….announced he was signing with Clemson on signing day, December 20, 2017…recruited by Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell…

Lyn-J Dixon, RB

Taylor County High School, Butler, Georgia

One of the top running backs in the nation, he gained over 5,000 yards in his high school career…ranked as the No. 168 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com…ranked ninth among running backs and 22nd among players in the state of Georgia…No. 10 running back in the nation by Rivals.com…limited his senior year due to injury, played in just six games, but still averaged 108 yards per game and 8.9 yards per rush…he scored 11 rushing touchdowns and 13 overall…as a junior in 2016 had 229 rushes for 1914 yards for 35 touchdowns….had 38 touchdowns overall…as a sophomore  had 156 for 1311 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns…had 23 touchdowns overall….had 171-1301 rushing yards as a freshman…scored 13 rushing touchdowns…overall for four years, had 629 carries for 5174 yards and 73 rushing touchdowns…had 88 total touchdowns…fine receiver as well, he had 76 receptions for 1088 yards and nine scores in his career…finished with 7201 all-purpose yards in his career…in spot duty, averaged 30 yards on kickoff returns and 25 yards on punt returns…scored 536 points in his four years in 37 games, 14.5 points per game…averaged 2.4 touchdowns per game…played his high school football for Mark Wilson…signed with Clemson on December 20, 2017….recruited by Tony Elliott and Robbie Caldwell.

Braden Galloway, TE

Seneca High School, Anderson, SC

All-around athlete who played tight end and quarterback for nearby Seneca High School…. comes to Clemson from the same high school that produced former Clemson All-American and Pittsburgh Steelers great Bennie Cunningham..…two-sport athlete at Seneca…did not start playing football until 2016, his junior year…finished that year with 50 catches for 834 yards and nine scores….played quarterback at start of his senior year (2017) and had 107 yards rushing, 102 yards passing, 22 yards receiving and three touchdowns against Chapman in first game…but in second game of the year suffered a foot injury that forced him to miss six weeks…came back at midseason and threw for 181 yards and two scores, but felt pain in the foot the next week and did not play the rest of the season…. outstanding player on the hardwood, he was the Region I-AAA Player of the Year in basketball in 2016-17….averaged 20.1 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior….averaged 15.9 points a game as a sophomore…made 100 three-point goals over his sophomore and junior seasons… ranked as the #1 overall TE in the state of South Carolina by Scout.com…ranked as 13th best player in South Carolina by Rivals.com and 247 Sports… played football at Seneca High for Hal Capps…committed to the Tigers on 04/08/2017…recruited by Brent Venables and Danny Pearman.

K.J. Henry, DL

West Forsyth High School, Winston-Salem, NC

One of the top players in the nation by all services…ranked as No. 5 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com, No. 8 by 247 Sports and No. 23 by Rivals.com…listed as the top player in North Carolina by ESPN.com and 247 Sports…Rivals.com lists Henry as the second best overall player in North Carolina…listed as third best player at his position by all three of the major recruiting services…second-team USA Today All-American…5 star player by ESPN and 247 Sports….will play in Under Armour All-American game in Orlando….played his high school football for Adrian Snow…committed on the early signing day, Dec. 20, 2017, on ESPN….recruited by Mike Reed and Todd Bates.

Darnell Jefferies, DT

Newton High School, Covington, Ga.

Played defensive tackle for Newton High School each of the last two seasons…had 65 total tackles in 11 games as a senior….had 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks… had season high 11 tackles vs. Archer High…had five tackles for loss vs. South Gwinnett…also played some tight end and had seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown…named the Region 8-6A Defensive Player of the year…received Player of the Week honors from the Atlanta Touchdown Club for the Week of November 17th…he had a pick-six in that game… Georgia All-Region selection as well…ranked as No. 22 defensive tackle in Georgia by ESPN.com…had 76 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks in 2016….had incredible 42 quarterback pressures…played his high school football for Terrance Banks…also played high school basketball and track as a junior…committed to the Tigers on 06/12/2017….recruited by Todd Bates and Tony Elliott.

Mike Jones Jr., LB

IMG Academy (FL), Nashville, Tenn.

A national top 250 player by ESPN and 247 Sports…ESPN lists Jones as the No. 202 player in the nation, the eighth best outside linebacker…247 Sports calls him the No. 209 player and the 15th best OLB…played linebacker for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but his hometown is Nashville, Tenn.…had five tackles for loss in seven games… played his senior year at IMG, helping that team to a No. 2 final national ranking and a 9-0 record…played two years at IMG, helped team to 11-0 record in 2016…team was ranked fourth in the nation that year…had 22 tackles, five tackles for loss, five PBUs and a fumble recovery in 2016….IMG was 20-0 in his two years there..… will play in Under Armour All-American game in Orlando…considered a 4-star prospect by Rivals.com… he had 11 touchdown passes and ran for another 10 scores in 2014 at high school in Nashville, Tenn….had 13 sacks and 60 tackles on defense that year ….committed to the Tigers on 06/16/2016….recruited by Tony Elliott and Brent Venables.

Derion Kendrick, WR

South Pointe High School, Rock Hill, SC

A national top 50 player by Rivals.com and 247 Sports…Rivals.com lists Kendrick as the top player in South Carolina and the No. 8 receiver in the nation…247 Sports lists Kendrick as the top player in South Carolina and the No. 5 receiver in the nation…ESPN.com lists him as the No. 80 overall player in the nation, the top player in South Carolina and the No. 8 receiver…Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina…played at a South Pointe program that won the state championship each of the last four years….Kendrick played wide receiver as a sophomore and played quarterback the last two years…completed 184-255 passes for 2,683 yards and 30 touchdowns against just six interceptions in 2017…also had 119 rushes for 1,194 yards and 20 scores…so had 50 touchdowns rushing and passing…in state semifinal playoff game against Greer, Kendrick had seven touchdowns, five rushing and two passing….rushed for 162 and completed 16-21 passes for 240 yards in that game….as a junior in 2016, completed 182 of 288 for 2,625 yards and 29 touchdowns against just six interceptions…had 110 rushes for 488 yards and five scores…so had 59/12 touchdown /interception ratio his last two years…had three touchdown receptions as a sophomore against Northwestern High School… teammates with fellow 2018 class Clemson commit BT Potter….played in the Shrine Bowl for South Carolina as a wide receiver, he had a 52-yard touchdown receptions…will play in US Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6…won USA Today's Super 25 Top Star for the week of Oct. 26-28 after accounting for four touchdowns in a game…named a finalist for U.S. Army Player of the Year Award… a consensus 4-star prospect by every major recruiting website… played at South Pointe High for Strait Herron…committed to the Tigers on 01/28/2017…recruited by Jeff Scott.

Trevor Lawrence, QB

Cartersville High School, Cartersville, Ga

Considered the No. 1 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com and 247 Sports and the No. 2 player by ESPN.com…unanimous five-star player…National Offensive Player of the Year by  USA Today Offensive Player of the Year…first-team Quarterback on USA Today All-American team…top quarterback in the nation and top player from the state of Georgia from Rivals and 247 Sports…No. 2 player in Georgia by ESPN…Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia in 2016 and 2017…four-year starter at quarterback  at Cartersville High School, he began starting in third game of his freshman year and finished 52-2 as starter for his career… led program to a 41-game winning streak at one point…had 14-2 record as a starter in the playoffs over his career…led Cartersville to four region titles, two state titles and three state playoff Final Fours….passed for 13,908 yards during his four-year career and threw  for 161 touchdowns…had just 21 interceptions against those 161 touchdown passes…broke state records for passing yards and touchdown passes previously held by Deshaun Watson...in 2017 had 41 touchdown passes and just one interception…in 12 games in 2017 he completed 177 of 256 passes for 3,396 yards, a .700 completion percentage…also had 30-200 rushing and two scores…as a senior led Cartersville to a 52-45 victory over Bartram Trail in a nationally televised game on ESPN …averaged 19.6 yards per completion as a senior…in 2016 as a junior led team to 15-0 record by completing 250 of 406 passes for 3904 yards…threw career high 51 touchdown passes with just nine interceptions… as a sophomore, led team to state title with a 15-0 record by completing 233 of 364 for 3655 yards and 43 touchdowns against just four interceptions…also had 52 rushes for 235 yards and four scores… had four 300-yard passing games in 2015…as a freshman in 2014 began starting with the third game of the season…. for the year was 187-310 for 3053 yards and 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions…two-time state AAAA champion in the state of Georgia…competed in the Elite 11 finals…named an Elite 11 Quarterback…invited to Nike's annual The Opening in Oregon last summer……first-team All-state in Georgia 4A his last three years…Offensive player of the year and first team AAAA All-State in 2015, 2016 and 2017… wore No. 16 in high school…played at Cartersville High for Joey King…former Clemson football player Kyle Tucker is also an assistant coach on that staff…committed to the Tigers on 12/16/2016…plans to enroll at Clemson on January 8, 2018, just two days after playing in the US Army All-American game…recruited by Brandon Streeter.

Justin Mascoll, DE

South Gwinnett High School, Snellville, Ga.

Ranked as the No. 43 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com…that site also sees him as the eighth best player in Georgia and the sixth best defensive end in the nation…played linebacker and defensive end for South Gwinnett High School…had 59 tackles in 2017, including 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks…had 68 tackles in 2016 as a junior, he had nine tackles for loss and eight sacks…had 14 quarterback pressures that season …ranked a 4-star prospect by 247Sports…was a first-team all-region 8-A linebacker his senior year… will play in US Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6 …played at South Gwinnett for Steve Davenport…committed to the Tigers on 03/17/2017…recruited by Tony Elliott, Mickey Conn and Todd Bates.

Jordan McFadden,  OL

Dorman High School, Spartanburg, SC

Played offensive tackle for Dorman High School in Spartanburg…selected for the South Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl..… named the Lineman of the Year for the State of South Carolina by the State Newspaper…helped Dorman to the 5A state championship game his senior year….Dorman finished with a 12-3 record…McFadden was a big reason Dorman averaged 277 rushing yards per game and scored 71 touchdowns…team had two players with at least 1,200 yards rushing…ranked as the 10th best player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…listed as the 16th best player in South Carolina by 247 Sports and the 20th best by Rivals.com…played at Dorman high for Dave Gutshall…wore No. 73 at Dorman High…also played basketball at Dorman and helped that team to 23-5 record in 2016-17…committed to the Tigers on 12/09/2017….recruited by Jeff Scott and Robbie Caldwell.

Kyler McMichael, CB

Greater Atlanta Christian Academy, Atlanta, Ga.

A National top 125 overall signee by all three major services…ranked No. 71 in the nation by 247 Sports…they also list him as the No. 11 overall player in Georgia and the 12th best cornerback…Rivals.com lists McMichael as the 85th best overall player in the nation, the 12th best player in Georgia and the fourth best cornerback in the nation…ESPN.com ranks him No. 113 overall, the 11th best athlete and the 18th best player in Georgia…played running back and cornerback at the Greater Atlanta Christian School… will play in US Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6…as a running back in 2017 scored 24 touchdowns and had 1,483 yards on 128 carries, a 11.6 average…… had 24 total touchdowns in 2017, all rushing…had a streak of eight straight games with multiple touchdowns during the 2017 season.… had at least 100 yards in each of his last five games and eight of the 14 games in 2017…had 14-154 vs. Jenkins High…finished senior year with 1,639 all purpose yards…named to the Atlanta Constitution's Super 11 team for 2017…had 19 solo tackles in 14 games  his senior year…helped team to a 12-2 record and the Final Four of the state tournament….as a junior had 1,493 rushing yards and averaged nine yards per carry…scored 16 touchdowns rushing…had career high 21 for 196 yards rushing vs. Lovett in season opener of 2016…had five 100-yard games for the season.…finished 2016 with 1,946 all-purpose yards and 18 total touchdowns…first-team all-state as a junior in 2016…helped team to a 13-2 record and the state championship game in 2016…competed at Nike's The Opening …played his high school football for Tim Hardy….played at North View High School his first two years…committed to Clemson on 06/23/2017….recruited by Tony Elliott, Mickey Conn and Mike Reed.

BT Potter, PK

South Pointe High School, Rock Hill, SC

Considered the #1 overall kicker in the nation according to Chris Sailer …listed as the No. 2 kicker in the nation by Rivals.com…selected to the 2018 U.S. Army All-American game…four-year starter as placekicker at South Pointe high School… made field goals with 12 in 17 attempts as a senior…made 77-81 extra points for the high school state championship team of Rock Hill, SC…his most incredible stat was 117 touchbacks in 126 kickoffs…also handled the punting and averaged 37.1 yards per punt…in 2016 he made 11-15 field goals, including career long of 49 yards…made 49-54 extra points for 82 total points…averaged 39 yards a punt on 45 punts…had 77 kickoffs…as a sophomore in 2015 made 4-7 field goals, including a 43-yarder… made 40-45 extra points and scored 51 points for the year….as a freshman made 4-6  field goals and 45-51 extra points…for career, scored 304 points on 31-45 field goals and 211 extra points…helped the South Pointe team to a 15-0 record in 2017 and the state title…South Pointe won the South Carolina state title all four years…teammate with fellow Clemson commit Derion Kendrick at South Pointe… kicked a 67-yard field goal in a showcase event…played his high school football for Strait Herron…committed to the Tigers on 06/07/2017….recruited by Jeff Scott and Danny Pearman.

Xavier Thomas, DE

IMG Academy (FL), Florence, SC

Ranked among the top defensive players in the nation for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.…IMG was 9-0 this year and ranked No. 2 in the nation by Max Preps…a finalist for the National Defensive Player of the Year Award by the US Army All-American game, that winner will be announced on Jan. 5…also finalist for the Anthony Munoz National Lineman of the Year…rated as the No. 3 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com and 247 Sports, he is the No. 4 overall player by Rivals.com…first-team USA Today All-American…the top player in the state of Florida by all three services and the top defensive end in the nation by all three…teammate of Clemson signee Mike Jones…will play in US Army All-America game January 6, 2018…played defensive line for Wilson High School in Florence, SC before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla…had eight sacks, 21 tackles for loss and 59 total tackles as a true freshman playing on varsity at Wilson in 2014…also had 21 quarterback pressures…followed it up with nine sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 70 tackles at Wilson his sophomore year, 2015…also had some time at running back…had career high 20-209 rushing against Myrtle Beach…finished year with 59-568 and eight touchdowns, a 9.6 yards per carry figure…had 34 tackles and eight tackles for loss this past season at IMG Academy's talented team in Bradenton, Fla…also had a blocked punt recovery for a touchdown in 2017…played just eight games at IMG…. competed at the 2017 The Opening hosted by Nike in Oregon…unanimous five-star recruit …played at IMG Academy for Kevin Wright… committed to the Tigers on 04/08/2017….recruited by Danny Pearman, Brent Venables and Todd Bates.

Jake Venables, LB

Daniel High School, Clemson, SC

Played Outside linebacker for Daniel High School… ranked as the fifth overall prospect in the state of South Carolina and 30th best linebacker in the nation by 247sports…listed as the seventh best player in South Carolina and No. 32 linebacker by Rivals.com…named to the All-Region I-AAAA team… played for the South Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl…had 70 tackles during his senior season at Daniel High, he had 22 tackles for loss, five of which were sacks…had an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown against Westside early in the season…had season high 15 tackles against Pickens…also a starter as a sophomore and junior….played his high school football for Jeff Fruster….wore No. 15 at Daniel…also played on the Daniel basketball team in 2016-17…committed to Clemson on 12/18/2016, his dad's birthday, he will sign with Clemson just two days after his dad's birthday, Dec. 20, 2017… son of Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables, the winner of the 2016 Frank Broyles Award. …recruited by Brent Venables