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Clemson assistant coaches are all out on the football recruiting trail, blanketing the country through the end of May, when the NCAA spring evaluation period comes to an end. They don't have to go very far to visit a pair of the program's most highly-ranked offensive line targets.
Clemson has offered 12 offensive linemen for the 2023 class, and here are the most highly-regarded prospects showing the most interest in committing to the Tigers.
Clemson is heavily in the mix for two of the highest-ranked players in South Carolina —Oceanside Collegiate Academy lineman Monroe Freeling and Dorman lineman Markee Anderson. They are the lone in-state players to hold offers from both Clemson and the University of South Carolina.
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Anderson (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) recently unveiled his top four schools, with Clemson and South Carolina joining North Carolina and LSU. He's ranked No. 70 overall and the No. 3 interior lineman.
Anderson said he's enjoying "all the opportunities I get to go out and meet and talk to different college coaches because a lot of people don't get that opportunity. Just getting recruited and being able to go to different places, see different sites. I do think of myself as blessed for being in this position."
He attended South Carolina's Spring Game on April 16 and last week picked up an offer from Mississippi. His other top offers include Auburn, Arkansas, Florida State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Freeling (6-foot-7, 283 pounds) is ranked 201st overall and the No. 18 tackle by 247Sports. He recently announced a top seven that includes Clemson, along with Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida and Miami. Freeling attended Clemson's football camp last summer, leading to a quick offer.
"I’ve had a good relationship with (Clemson) ever since they offered me last June,” Freeling recently told On3.com. “Coach (Dabo) Swinney doesn’t seem like he is slowing down any time soon. I have a good relationship with (offensive line coach Thomas Austin) and I am excited to see how he does this season with [a] new coaching role.”
Austin was a two-time All-ACC second-team center for Clemson before a short career in the NFL. He is in his first season as the team's offensive line coach.
Clemson had long been considered in the lead for tackle Sullivan Absher, a 6-foot-7, 290-pound prospect from South Point in Belmont, N, the same school that produced former Clemson star and current Seattle linebacker Tanner Muse.
Since visiting Notre Dame in late January, however, the Fighting Irish pulled ahead and secured Absher's commitment last week.
"The biggest thing I like about (Clemson) is how consistently they develop their players," Absher told IrishIllustrated.com. "They’ll never have the best recruiting class, but year in and year out they produce high level character teams that win. Coach (Dabo) Swinney is a real high character coach who knows how to get players to buy into his program and (offensive line) coach (Thomas) Austin is a really knowledgeable coach and teacher who can relate to his players.”
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Reed's first visit to Clemson came during the April 9 Orange and White Spring Game. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound recruit is ranked 222nd overall and 21st on the interior.
Another Texas lineman high on the Tigers is Odessa's Harris Sewell, who has Clemson among a top-five that includes Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Texas. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder visited Clemson on April 4 and the next day tweeted, "I had a great time at Clemson yesterday! Thank you to the coaching and recruiting staff for a great day. Can’t wait to get back!"
Sewell is ranked 101st overall and fifth on the interior.
Mammoth tackle Zechariah Owens (6-foot-6, 365 pounds) announced he'd received an offer from Clemson in early March after a visit, then returned March 30 on another trip. The McDonough, Ga., prospect, ranked 47th overall and fifth at his position, also expects to make an official visit to Clemson in June.
Orange Park, Fla., recruit Roderick Kearney has had contact from Clemson (mostly from the program's running backs coach C.J. Spiller, who signed with the Tigers out of the state and now is that area's main recruiter) going back to last year's preseason. He didn't receive an offer until March 14 in the immediate aftermath of a visit to campus.
Kearney (6-foot-4, 300 pounds) is ranked as the No. 189 recruit and 17th interior lineman.
He had announced a top-12 on Feb. 28 that, of course, didn't include the Tigers without an offer, but did list ACC programs Florida State and Miami and SEC teams Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas. Clemson appears to have gotten into the mix and it will be interesting to see if the Tigers can secure one of Kearney's five allotted official visits.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Clemson football targeting highly ranked 2023 offensive line recruits