NCF On The Trail: Artavis Scott

Clemson reloads at receiver again

February, 11, 2015
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Clemson has never been shy about playing true freshmen -- most especially at receiver.

The Tigers have been quite successful using their young guys at this spot since Dabo Swinney took over as full-time head coach in 2009. DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins set school freshman receiving marks in their debut seasons, and just last season, Artavis Scott led the team in receptions (76) and touchdown catches (8).

Though Clemson returns four of its top five receivers in 2015, do not be surprised if Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud III make an instant impact. Cain, an ESPN 300 prospect, was the nation's No. 2 receiver in the Class of 2015; McCloud, another ESPN 300 recruit, was the No. 12-rated athlete. Another four-star receiver, Shadell Bell, is enrolled in school and will participate in spring practice.

"We’re seeing some of these top elite receivers and defensive backs coming in and they’re college-ready, where maybe six, seven years ago you didn’t see that quite as much," said Jeff Scott, who has served as Clemson's receivers coach and now adds co-offensive coordinator to his job duties. "We’ve had a lot of success with those guys coming in and playing early. That reputation is one reason we have the opportunity to sign a lot of talented guys. Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud are as good as any receivers we’ve signed here at Clemson. They’ve got big shoes to fill, but they’re competitors, very talented guys.

"The biggest challenge will be learning the offense and how we do things. Once they learn that, our job is to get the ball in their hands, let them go play and do what they do. We feel like at this level, we have the opportunity to sign guys that are talented enough to come in and make an impact as freshmen. We see an opportunity this year with those guys."

Watkins and Hopkins ended up becoming first-round NFL picks. Martavis Bryant, who also played as a true freshman with Watkins in 2011, was a fourth-round pick. Clemson is clearly doing a good job not only bringing in talented players, but also then maximizing their potential. Player development is crucial to any team's success.

The way the players have been developed at this spot -- knowing how integral they are to the success of the high-powered Clemson offense -- shows not only in the stats they put up but in their performance at the next level.

Here is a look at true freshmen receivers who have played at Clemson since 2009:

2014

Artavis Scott: 76 catches, 965 yards, eight TDs. Led team in receptions and receiving touchdowns.

Demarre Kitt: Five catches, 47 yards.

2013

Mike Williams: 20 catches, 316 yards, six TDs.

2011

Sammy Watkins: 82 catches, 1,219 yards, 12 TDs. All-purpose: 2,288 yards and 13 total TDs. Led team in all categories. ACC Rookie of the Year, AP All-American.

Martavis Bryant: 10 catches, 305 yards, four TDs.

Adam Humphries: 15 catches, 130 yards.

Charone Peake: Four catches, 71 yards.

2010

DeAndre Hopkins: 52 catches, 637 yards, four TDs. Led team in all categories.

Top position classes: WR 

February, 12, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
While the Baylor Bears had an exceptional wide receiver class, the nod here goes to LSU. Not only did the Tigers sign the nation's No. 1 receiver in Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), but also the No. 3 ranked receiver in Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) and ESPN 300 No. 271 D.J. Chark (Alexandria, La./Alexandria Senior) and No. 283 Tony Upchurch (Pearland, Texas/Dawson). In Dupre, LSU snagged the No. 17 prospect overall on signing day. He has a tall, lengthy frame with a near ideal size-and-speed combination and elite high-point ball skills. Quinn will enter LSU as an advanced route-runner with separation skills and the ability to pluck the ball outside of the framework of his body. Chark brings initial quickness and the vertical speed to take the top off a defense, and Upchurch is a big body who continues to add bulk and could eventually transition to a flex type of position.

The Tigers had the nation’s best wide receiver class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

Early Offer: 2015 begins now 

February, 7, 2014
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: The ink was barely dry on the letters of intent for 2014 class when one of the best for the 2015 class came off the board; and what schools and recruiters have jumped out of the gate with success with players that won’t sign for another 360-plus days.


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Early Offer: TE Dixon’s dilemma 

January, 21, 2014
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Bryce Dixon, the nation’s No. 1 tight end prospect, has committed to USC, but that hasn’t stopped UCLA from pursuing him; Clemson’s receiver class is making a case for the best in the country; and junior college cornerback Darius White was afraid he wasn’t going to find a home after he wasn’t able to enroll at midterm, but that changed this weekend.

Trojans, Bruins duking it out for Dixon
Things have certainly gotten interesting in the battle to sign Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure tight end Bryce Dixon. The nation’s No. 1 tight end prospect committed to USC at the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, but since then rumors have continued to swirl about Dixon’s pledge. One Pac-12 coach told me Dixon publicly is telling people he’s still with the Trojans but privately he’s looking very hard at UCLA. “The key is going to be whatever team ends up stepping up and taking his teammate, cornerback Davonte Nunnery,” the coach said. “They’re a package deal.” Dixon is scheduled to visit USC this weekend, likely with Nunnery in tow, and UCLA is scheduled to get a visit on Jan. 31. Don’t be surprised, however, if some wrangling occurs and USC tries to push the visit back to the final weekend of the recruiting calendar.

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Recruit and return: Clemson Tigers 

January, 4, 2014
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Under coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson has finally rid itself of the underachievers label that haunted the program for much of the last decade. The program has turned the corner, and the Tigers are putting together the kind of recruiting classes to continually compete for ACC championships. Now Swinney can pitch an Orange Bowl win to recruits in 2014 and beyond, too.


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Midyear signings: Clemson

December, 20, 2013
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According to ClemsonTigers.com, the following players have signed financial aid agreements with Clemson:

Deshaun Watson, QB-DT, Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville
HT: 6-3 WT: 190
Positional Rank: #1 QB-DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#14)

Artavis Scott, WR, Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake
HT: 5-11 WT: 179
Positional Rank: #9 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#83)

Demarre Kitt, WR, Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek
HT: 6-0 WT: 196
Positional Rank: #22 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#165)

Kyrin Priester, WR, Snellville, Ga./Fork Union Military
HT: 6-1 WT: 190
Positional Rank: N/A Post-Grad
Stars: 4

Chris Register, OLB, Greensboro, N.C./Dudley
HT: 6-3 WT: 230
Positional Rank: #25 OLB
Stars: 4
When ESPN 300 wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) verbally committed to Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon, it didn’t come as a surprise to many. After all, Malone is the top-ranked prospect in Tennessee and the Vols have placed a heavy emphasis on landing the talented pass-catcher.

Clemson, however, has been known to go out-of-state and land top receiver prospects such as Sammy Watkins. The Tigers might have lost out on Malone, but it’s not like they were left empty-handed.

Clemson already has commitments from ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), as well as Kyrin Priester (Snellville, Ga/Fork Union Military Academy).

The Tigers are also targeting another ESPN 300 prospect Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside) and they are considered, by many, to be the favorite for the talented pass-catcher.

In addition to Clemson, Malone was also heavily considering Georgia and Florida State before narrowing down his choices to Clemson and Tennessee late in the process.

For Georgia, the Bulldogs already have commitments from Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland) and Gilbert Johnson (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) and they are limited on scholarships. Unless something changes on its recruiting board, Georgia might not take another receiver in this class.

Florida State, meanwhile, is still in heavy contention for ESPN 300 wide receiver Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) and Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). If FSU continues to have success on the field and happens to win the national championship, the Seminoles will likely see new names appear on their board.

Major talent visiting Clemson vs. Citadel 

November, 22, 2013
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Clemson hopes to have a very productive visit weekend for their last home game of the season against Clemson at noon Satirday. Highlighted by five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan, the expected list of recruits is filled with quality, and the Tigers hope that some of their commitments that will be attending will put in some work, too.

Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County): It's hard to imagine there is a bigger prospect left on the board for Clemson than McMillan. The country's top inside linebacker recruit is expected to be in Clemson this weekend for the Tigers' final home game. Clemson's staff has done a good job in the past with McMillan, being one of the first to identify him as a priority. Ohio State is in the thick of it for McMillan, too, so will this visit be enough for Clemson to give themselves an edge before he makes his decision?

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ACC recruiting storylines: Nov. 21 

November, 21, 2013
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Clemson's big visit weekend highlights this week's storylines in the ACC. Also, can Florida State get a running back target into town this weekend, and can Virginia Tech continue its lead for a three-star tailback?

Big weekend for Clemson

Clemson's last home game of the season is going to a be a big one for visitors.


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Best ACC recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

The best head coaches are often called the closer when it comes to sealing the deal with recruits. Whether on a visit or a trip to a prospect’s home, the head coach is called upon to secure the signature.

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Top ACC recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
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Rivalries extend past the field in college football. The bad blood and feud seeps into the fans, the coaching staffs and especially in the high schools when it comes to top recruits. Often the teams duking it out on Saturdays were going head-to-head in February for several of the players on the field.

The ACC might not be on the same level as the SEC when it comes to recruiting rivalries, but the conference has its fair share, including one of the nation’s most intense.

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ACC's 2014 impact freshmen 

September, 25, 2013
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Fans always want to know who is next. Coaches need to know who is next. The top programs reload instead of rebuild. Ideally, a coaching staff can move down the depth chart and replace a graduated senior without much of a drop in production. With several coaches forgoing redshirting and instead playing true freshmen extensively, those replacement players are often first-year players now.

Here are Class of 2014 prospects in the ACC who could be the next household name on your favorite team.


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Best ACC classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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Florida State has the top class among ACC schools right now, but that is taking the Seminoles’ entire 23-recruit class into account. The Noles don’t have the best class at every position, as some of Florida State’s top rivals are looking stronger at certain positions. Here’s a look at which ACC school has the best class by position:

Quarterback

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ACC class rankings analysis 

August, 14, 2013
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Florida State, the ACC's reigning champion, now owns the No. 2-ranked recruiting class in the country for the 2014 cycle, as Alabama has passed up the Seminoles. Miami, too, is in the top five giving the ACC some strong classes to go with the usual dominance of the SEC. There is a noticeable drop off beyond that, though. Clemson is next at No. 11, Virginia at No. 17 and North Carolina at No. 22.

Trending up: Mike London's Cavaliers have put together a tremendous class already. Their top two commitments, Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) and Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside), are both five-star caliber and in-state talents. Keeping highly rated guys home is important for any program, and London and Co. were able to do that. But last week, they reached across the country and snagged ESPN 300 ATH Jeff Farrar (Upland, Calif./Upland) out of California. That gives Virginia four ESPN 300 commitments, but at only 11 commitments, they'll need to fill out the rest of their class in the coming months. It's also worth noting that North Carolina picked up a verbal from three-star wide receiver Josh Cabrera (Jacksonville, N.C./Northside).

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Summer recruit wrap: Michigan 

July, 23, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The summer camp season proved to be exciting, as it always is. Here are 10 things we learned through this summer.

1. Camp will always be a proving ground

The 2014 class will only have about 18 members, so when Michigan headed into this summer’s camp with 10 commitments, it was unsure how many camp offers would really exist (especially considering how many highly-ranked guys had, and still have, interest in Michigan). But for guys like Brandon Watson (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and Freddy Canteen (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), camp was all they needed. Their performances there were enough to garner offers. Sooner rather than later, those two turned those offers into commitments. And it wasn’t just true in the 2014 class. Offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. (Philadelphia/St. Joseph’s Prep) became the Wolverines' third commitment in the 2015 class after he proved himself at camp and picked up and offer.

2. The barbecue in the Big House is still … big


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