Best of Dabo: Swinney's highest-rated recruits over the years

Mike Farrell, Recruiting Director
Rivals Articles

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team


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Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

With the recent commitments of top 10 recruits DJ Uiagalelei and Bryan Bresee in the 2020 class, it got me to thinking: Who are the highest-rated recruits Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has recruited over the years? Uiagalelei would be tied with Trevor Lawrence and Bresee would be tied for fourth. Here are the others.

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1. Trevor Lawrence 

The skinny: Despite his impressive collection of offers from most of the top programs in the country, Lawrence decided to end his process early with a commitment to Clemson during his junior season. He never wavered off that pledge. After beating out Kelly Bryant for the starting job in Death Valley, Lawrence had a magical true freshman season that culminated in a national championship victory over Alabama. With two seasons remaining with the Tigers, expectations will be through the roof for the sophomore quarterback.

Farrell’s take: Lawrence is the best quarterback I’ve ever scouted in all my years at Rivals.com, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. His recruitment was straightforward and direct, which speaks to his persona. Once he committed he was done, which is the way it is with most Clemson recruits.

2. Dexter Lawrence

The skinny: In December of his senior season, Lawrence committed to Clemson over Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, NC State, North Carolina and others. The Gators were considered his favorite team growing up, but the Tigers won out. While Lawrence’s final season in Death Valley was abruptly ended by a suspension related to a failed drug test, he still enjoyed an extremely successful collegiate career with the Tigers. He was then selected by the New York Giants with the 17th overall pick, and he will be looked upon to help lead a revamped defensive unit.

Farrell’s take: Lawrence started off as a potential Gators lean and then some of the in-state programs became an issue, but Clemson offered the perfect blend of big-time football and location. He was once our No. 1 player overall and slid to No. 2 behind Rashan Gary. Regardless, he’s one of the top defensive tackles I’ve seen, especially at his size.


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