Take Two: Will Clemson's visit weekend pay big dividends?

Adam Gorney, Mike Farrell, Paul Strelow, Rivals.com
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Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

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MORE: Clemson has buzz on recruiting trail

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

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

THE STORYLINE

Clemson had a big recruiting weekend when it hosted Texas A&M, but it was not for 2020 prospects. The Tigers have already been there, done that.

The focus was mainly on top 2021 prospects as four-star defensive tackle Payton Page, four-star all-purpose back Will Shipley, four-star athlete Ga’Quincy McKinstry and many others were on campus as the Tigers dismantled the Aggies for another win.

Clemson already has the top-rated recruiting class in 2020 with five-star commitments from QB D.J. Uiagalelei, defensive end Myles Murphy, defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, running back Demarkcus Bowman and cornerback Fred Davis. The Tigers are rolling there.

And it looks like the train is going to keep chugging in 2021 as the Tigers get a jumpstart to get a bunch of top targets on campus. There is still so much time left before signing day for that recruiting class that it seems so far away, but the recruiting calendar has been moved up and so Clemson is moving with it.

Will we look back at this past weekend as a huge turning point in Clemson’s 2021 recruiting efforts as the Tigers stay one step ahead of the competition or is way too early to judge?

FIRST TAKE: Paul Strelow, TigerIllustrated.com

“Clemson had circled the Texas A&M game to serve as its big recruiting weekend for awhile, and that’s important when given further context. With the bulk of its 2020 recruiting done, the Tigers really only turned eyes toward the 2021 cycle over the summer. Given Dabo Swinney’s philosophical approach to keep a smaller pool of targets, that meant an invite list aimed at quality over quantity. Put another way, a big recruiting weekend for their closest peers is usually about the number of five- or four-stars that can be lured to campus. For Clemson, the weight went on attracting what amounts to one or two select guys at each position.

“Four-star receiver Dacari Collins pulled the trigger on an anticipated commitment, and the Tigers gained a rare surprise pledge from linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. We’ve reported they’ve positioned themselves well with four-star tight end Jake Briningstool, four-star offensive lineman Marcus Tate and linebacker Power Echols among others.

"But arguably the greatest value came in setting the bar high and potentially advancing their cause with others more hotly contested, such as four-star corners Ga’Quincy McKinstry and Tony Grimes, four-star running back Will Shipley and four-star defensive tackle Payton Page.

Considering Clemson’s leverage and profile, several more of last weekend’s visitors will wind up on the commitment list. But that will come in time, as much of the Tigers’ uncommonly strong retention rate is rooted in encouraging prospects to go see the difference at other schools first.”

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SECOND TAKE: Mike Farrell, Rivals.com

“It’s hard to say they’ll land most, but they’ll certainly get their share. They got Collins from Georgia and that’s their second four-star from that state. It’s good to get an early start on 2021, especially since Clemson isn’t a team that has big classes all the time and they don’t have a lot of de-commitments.

“They’re really good at reading kids and if they take a commitment from somebody, they’re probably going to stick with it. I like the approach of come here, go compare, come back and then they’ll probably close them. There’s no stopping them now. They’re going to recruit at a top-five level for many years.”

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