The Class of 2014: Clemson signees list, now with Dabo Swinney comments

Note: This is a repost of last Wednesday’s Class of 2014 rundown, only today on Feb. 13, I’ve added commentary from Dabo Swinney on each individual player, courtesy of Clemson’s live web show from National Signing Day. -AB

BY AARON BRENNER
abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON — Here they are, the full rundowns on Clemson 22 signees joining the Tigers’ football program today. Some are early enrollees (Kitt, Priester, Register, Scott and Watson) and some are grayshirts (both Davises, Spence and Williams), which will juggle Clemson’s scholarship numbers.

All star ratings are used from 247Sports.com’s composite ratings, which combines Scout, Rivals and 247Sports evaluations. All Twitter handles are based on recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott’s messages (none are officially verified.)

4* RB Adam Choice (Thomasville, Ga.) | Thomas County Central | 5-10, 200
Broke school record with 5,095 rushing yards as an option quarterback; cousin to former Georgia Tech and Buffalo Bills RB Tashard Choice
Twitter: @ThatChoiceKid
Swinney says: “I’m as excited about Adam Choice as anybody we’ve signed here in the last several years. He knows how to play the game. Incredibly smart, instinctive, he is gifted with the ball in his hands. Strong, powerful, breaks tackles. He’s played quarterback, but he’s obviously run the triple option. Incredibly smart young man … the game is slow for him.”

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2* LB J.D. Davis (Clemson, S.C.) | Daniel | 6-2, 218
Son of Clemson Ring of Honor member, current director of player personnel Jeff Davis; will join Clemson in 2015
2* LB Judah Davis (Clemson, S.C.) | Daniel | 6-2, 212
Son of Clemson Ring of Honor member, current director of player personnel Jeff Davis; will join Clemson in 2015
Swinney says: “We felt like these guys would be as highly-recruited as anybody if they were seniors this year. They’ve been around our program forever. They love it. One thing I think is very similar to them and their daddy; is when they hit people, they go down and they go backwards. If you ever watch any of Jeff Davis’ tape and you watch these guys, that’s what you see. Very raw, all in front of them … But it’s gonna be a lot of fun seeing these two guys grow up over the next several years in our program.”

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3* OL Justin Falcinelli (Middletown, Md.) | Middletown | 6-5, 300
High school team won three straight state championships from 2011-13, earning all-state honors each of those three seasons
Swinney says: “This guy, we go up there to see him, there’s a foot and a half of snow on the ground, it’s freezing cold, and there he is in shorts and a sweatshirt. And I’m like, do you not know it’s cold? He’s just, no big deal to him. The other thing I like about Falcinelli; he can run. He’s played a lot of sports. He had to play defensive tackle for them.”

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3* RB CJ Fuller (Easley, S.C.) | Easley | 5-11, 198
Finished career with 3,381 yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground, including school-record 2,090 yards his junior year
Twitter: @cee_fuller_24
Swinney says: “Another guy I’ve watched since he was probably in the third grade around here. He’s been the best guy in everything he’s done his whole career. Kind of like Nuk grew up in this area, CJ’s been doing his thing in Easley. Just great speed. He can flat-out run with the best of them.”

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3* S Jefferie Gibson (Hope Mills, N.C.) | Gray’s Creek | 6-3, 191
Committed to Clemson the day the Tigers beat Georgia in 2013 opener; 10 career INTs, three for a touchdown
Twitter: @ThaTru_11_Based
Swinney says: “Jefferie is a raw young talent. We were only going to take one DB in this class, so a lot of guys to choose from, but the staff really felt Jefferie was the one that brought the most upside to the table. He’s a big ol’ tall drink of water that’s just gonna get better and better.”

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3* OL Taylor Hearn (Williston, S.C.) | Williston Elko | 6-3, 305
U.S. Army All-American also played linebacker in high school; previously committed to Notre Dame
Twitter: @thearn519
Swinney says: “This kid is gonna be fun to watch him develop. He hasn’t done a ton of pass protection because of their style of play, so we’ve got a lot to teach him in that area. But he’s got all the tools. A big, big, big man.”

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3* LB Kendall Joseph (Belton, S.C.) | Belton-Honea Path | 5-11, 228
Three-time state weight-lifting champion led BHP with 118 tackles in 2013, also logged time at running back
Twitter: @KingJoseph34
Swinney says: “Right in the same line as Chris Register and Korie Rogers; no-nonsense guys, truly about their business all the time. He grew up wanting to be a part of this program; so it’s awesome when you can get guys fulfilling their dream.”

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4* WR Demarre Kitt (Fayetteville, Ga.) | Sandy Creek | 6-1, 195
U.S. Army All-American had huge junior year (68 catches, 1,151 yards, 11 TDs), went to same high school as All-Pro WR Calvin Johnson
Twitter: @D_ocho
Swinney says: “Demarre is an outstanding prospect, great ball skills, great athleticism and ability to make plays after the catch, has good size. Is coming from another outstanding program, has caught a bunch of balls, has been in a bunch of big games, he’s used to winning.”

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3* RB Jae’lon Oglesby (Central, S.C.) | Daniel | 5-11, 175
Another Daniel product, rushed for 2,176 yards (9.8 per carry) and 21 touchdowns his senior year, along with 557 receiving yards and six receiving scores
Swinney says: “Man, everybody around here knows Jae’lon. You talk about a playground legend, in Six Mile, Central, Clemson. This guy is electric. Can do anything. We can play him anywhere. Every time he touches the ball, you hold your breath. He’s got the speed to run away from people, he’s got the vision and quicks to make people miss and to separate. He’s a lot stronger than people think he is because he’s not the biggest guy. His football IQ is rare.”

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3* WR Kyrin Priester (Lilburn, Ga.) | Fork Union Military Academy | 6-2, 190
2013 commit failed to academically qualify, spent fall at Fork Union after a 1,116-yard, 13-TD year as a Brookwood (Ga.) senior
Twitter: @KyPriester
Swinney says: “He came up a little bit short and ended up having to go to Fork Union, but this guy can motor. I hate to compare guys, but I think he’s a Jaron Brown with a little more speed and athleticism, and Jaron Brown played as a rookie a lot with the Cardinals this year. (Kyrin) has the ability to stretch the field; has a great confidence and demeanor to him, very serious about being a great player.”

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4* DE Chris Register (Browns Summit, N.C.) | Dudley | 6-4, 240
Posted 111 tackles, seven sacks and five forced fumbles his junior year; Swinney calls him “a full-grown man”
Twitter: @Head_Hunta6
Swinney says: “Chris Register is a full-grown man. Let me just tell you. This guy is coming from Jeff Davis’ high school. There’s two things I’m gonna say about this guy – other than he’s a great player and everybody’s gonna love him – he’s going to be very low maintenance player, and he will be one of the toughest guys on this football team. You can just mark that down.”

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3* TE Milan Richard (Savannah, Ga.) | Calvary Baptist School | 6-3, 233
Caught 78 balls for 1,243 yards and 12 TDs in three-year varsity career; will play against uncle Herschel Walker’s Georgia squad in college debut
Twitter: @81Rich
Swinney says: “Probably one of the best athletes we’ve signed around here in a while. This kid has got huge upside and potential. A big, big athlete, that’s just going to get bigger and stronger and faster and smarter and all that stuff. The neatest thing about him is he’s Herschel Walker’s nephew; his momma is Herschel’s sister, and this young man obviously came down to us and Georgia. So pretty cool that he chose to come be a part of Clemson.”

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2* DT Jabril Robinson (Leland, N.C.) | North Brunswick | 6-2, 255
Team-high 110 tackles his senior year, including 27 tackles for loss and five sacks; 47 TFLs his last two years
Swinney says: “Plays fast, plays with great effort and toughness. He gets off the ball. Loves to play, and it’s all in front of him. He’s still a very raw guy, probably gonna end up inside at defensive tackle.”

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4* LB Korie Rogers (Flowery Branch, Ga.) | Buford | 6-2, 218
Rogers, Buford beat Deshaun Watson, Gainesville in September; Rogers recorded 91 tackles (16.5 TFL) and four picks his junior year
Twitter: @KD_Rogers43
Swinney says: “The epitome of what you would want in a linebacker. Great speed, range, toughness, great instincts, very smart, has played multiple positions, won the state championship this year. Lot of winners coming into this class. You talk about hitting him with your eyes open; this guy right here is a cold-blooded football player. Never says a word; just goes about his business and plays the game with great violence.”

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4* WR Artavis Scott (Oldsmar, Fla.) | East Lake | 5-11, 180
U.S. Army All-American totaled 5,330 all-purpose yards and 51 touchdowns, plus 75 tackles as a defensive end
Swinney says: “He’s a fun guy. He’s electric. Great runner with the ball in his hands. He’s gonna be an excellent route-runner, a hard guy to cover 1-on-1 because he has that great burst and ability to separate, especially at the break points in his routes. Great hands. Just has a great drive to be excellent in all that he does.”

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3* TE Cannon Smith (Columbia, S.C.) | Hammond School | 6-5, 235
Father is Bill Smith, a starting defensive end for 1981 Clemson championship team; Cannon had 10 TDs in high school
Swinney says: “We’ve been watching Cannon literally since he was seven years old, coming to our camp. He started as a wideout, grew into a tight end. He is every bit of 6-6, has a great frame. We’re gonna start him as tight end; we feel like he can be a very good one there. We don’t know how big he’s gonna be; he might end up at tackle one day, I don’t know. This guy is gonna be All In as much as any player we’ve ever signed here.”

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2* K Alex Spence (Florence, S.C.) | West Florence | 6-2, 190
Top-rated kicker in South Carolina made 14 of 17 field-goal attempts this past fall, including a 47-yarder; will grayshirt in 2014
Twitter: @AlexSpence1995
Swinney says: “He came in here and won the job in our camp. Was by far the best guy. Very accurate, has great distance ability, also is a pretty good punter. I hate to compare guys again, but he looks like (Chandler) Catanzaro as a freshman. Same type of size, a little height on him, long leg. Great work ethic.”

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4* WR Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C.) | Hillside | 6-3, 185
Had 57 catches, 987 yards, 14 TDs as a senior, coming from same high school as Clemson safety Korrin Wiggins
Twitter: @the_future_1
Swinney says: “He gives us that size and length that we always like to have in our receiving corps. Great ball skills. We think we can put him over in that 9 position and give us another one of those guys we’re starting to develop a long line of guys who can run.”

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4* QB Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga.) | Gainesville | 6-3, 188
The top-rated quarterback prospect in the country by three recruiting services, set Georgia high school records with 17,134 total offensive yards and 218 touchdowns
Twitter: @ShaunWatson4
Swinney says: “He’s special, and has been. This is a guy that called me on Signing Day a couple years ago and said, hey, I want to be a Clemson Tiger. I’m like, hey, you’re in the tenth grade, dude. I don’t know if I’m going to survive recruiting you for two years. But I did, and he did. Man, oh man, I don’t know if we’ve ever signed a guy with more talent. I mean, he is really truly the real deal. Can absolutely spin the ball. He obviously can run. He’s big. He’s got a chance to really, really develop physically, much more than he is.”

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3* LB Jalen Williams (Columbia, S.C.) | Blythewood | 5-11, 220
Had more than 100 tackles his last two years; named MVP of South Carolina North-South game with six tackles and a fumble return for a score. Will grayshirt
Swinney says: “Brent Venables has coached a bunch of good ones. We were basically full at linebacker. Brent came to me and said, Coach, I know we don’t have a scholarship, but I’d be willing to give up one for next year if we could take this guy. This guy went down to the North-South game, won the MVP. Coach Venables felt we had to have him on this team, and I agreed with him.”

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4* Richard Yeargin III (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) | NOVA University School | 6-4, 225
Finally committed to Clemson Wednesday; US Army All-American had 15 sacks for team with 19-game winning streak spanning the past two years
Twitter: @ryearginIII
Swinney says: “This is a great story, Richard Yeargin. This is the young man that has one of the most upsides of anybody we have in this class. He’s a long, 6-4 kid that we project as a defensive end. 4.1 student. One of those guys Clemson Nation is going to love when they get to know his personality. He’ll be involved in the community, he’ll be a great ambassador for this team for a bunch of years.”

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