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Saturday could not have gone better for Clemson. On the field, the Tigers handed their business with Texas A&M. And off the field, the Tigers handled their recruiting business with a pair of commitments for their 2021 class giving them three pledges for that group.

Prior to the game, WR Dacari Collins (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) of Powder Springs, Georgia, announced his commitment while on campus for an unofficial visit. Collins is considered a national level recruit. His offers include USC, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. He made numerous visits to Clemson thru the process, including camp visits since the seventh grade, culminating with his Saturday pledge. He loved his feeling around the program. Last season Collins averaged over 21 yards per catch with 4 touchdowns.

Saturday night after the game, 2021 LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (6-foot, 210 pounds) of Philadelphia also announced a Clemson commitment. Trotter is the son of former NFL star linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who spent most of his career with the Eagles and is in that team’s hall of fame. The two were down for the A&M game, and Trotter Jr. was so caught up with what he experienced after the game, he decided to pull defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables aside and make his commitment, much to his own surprise. The Trotters also witnessed a strong defensive effort keyed by an excellent game plan drawn up by Venables. That, too, played a role in the decision to commit on the spot. Trotter also holds offers from USC, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Pitt, Nebraska, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Baylor and others.

2021 RB Will Shipley (5-foot-11, 198 pounds) of Matthews, North Carolina, is one of the more exciting players in the Tar Heel State this season. Shipley can also play receiver and in the secondary. As a result, he’s drawn a large variety of offers including Clemson, USC, Stanford, Notre Dame, Florida, Georgia, Southern Cal, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Oregon, West Virginia and Penn State. Saturday he made his first visit to Clemson for a game. Clemson running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is recruiting Shipley. He’s handed out two running back offers for the class. One went to Shipley and the other to Phil Mafah of Loganville, Georgia, who committed in late August. USC has been in strong pursuit of Shipley as a running back and he’s had more exposure to the Gamecocks than most of the other schools. He’s made four visits to the campus for recruiting purposes, so the two sides have mutual affection. Shipley said no visit date has been determined but he is thinking about the Alabama game for his next trip to Columbia. And he plans many more visits to other schools this season having not closed the door on anyone that’s recruiting him. He has set a visit with Notre Dame for the Southern Cal game Oct. 12. He’s looking to make his decision before next season.

2021 QB Colten Gauthier of Dacula, Georgia, is one of the quarterbacks Clemson is evaluating for an offer in the next round of recruiting. He made a six-hour visit with the Tigers in late July, his first time on the campus. He returned Saturday for the Texas A&M game knowing he is one of a small number of candidates for ’21 offer. USC is one of Gauthier’s offers at this point. The Gamecocks offered in May after quarterbacks coach Dan Werner made a spring evaluation. The Gamecocks remain a contender, as well, and he plans to visit for the Kentucky game. Gauthier said he will visit UCF. His offer list consists of USC, Syracuse, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Miami, UCF, South Florida, Troy, Colorado, Boston College, Louisville, Kentucky, Duke, West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Along with Clemson, he’s also hearing from Texas Tech, Missouri, Purdue, North Carolina and Oklahoma State.

2021 TE Jake Briningstool of Brentwood, Tennessee, also visited Clemson Saturday. He also has a USC offer among others.

2021 DB Tony Grimes of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was at Clemson Saturday then visited Charlotte Sunday. Last week he issued a short list of Clemson, USC, Texas, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Oklahoma, Maryland, LSU and North Carolina.

2021 OL Jared Wilson of Clemmons, North Carolina, 2021 OL Amarius Mims of Cochran, Georgia, 2021 LB Deontae Lawson of Mobile, Alabama, and 2021 OL Marcus Tate of Jacksonville, Florida, planned to visit Clemson Saturday.

2021 WR JJ Jones of Myrtle Beach was scheduled to visit USC Saturday. He has an offer from West Virginia. He is sitting out this season after transferring from Socastee.

2021 Center Ryan Linthicum of Damascus, Maryland, a Clemson target, planned to visit Virginia Tech Saturday. He has Clemson, Virginia Tech and Michigan as his top three. He plans to visit Clemson for the Charlotte game.

2021 OL Prestin Hawkins of Indian Land visited Duke Saturday. He’s also drawing interest from USC and plans to visit there in a couple of weeks.

USC offered 2021 DE Kenau Koht of Vero Beach, Florida, 2021 ATH West Weeks of Watkinsville, Georgia. and 2021 LB Damon Owens of Brentwood, Tennessee.

Sumter 2021 DE Justus Boone was offered by Virginia and Charlotte.

2020 LB Desmond Tisdol of Rochelle, Georgia, has been hotly pursued by USC and several others over this recruiting season. At one point, it appeared he might make a summertime decision, and the Gamecocks, as the first to offer, appeared to be in strong shape. But overtime, that lead has vanquished as Tisdol weighed other options. He’s now primarily looking at USC, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Georgia Southern.

Safety DJ Taylor of Tampa, Florida, is another of USC’s few remaining targets for the 2020 class. Taylor currently is committed to Arizona State but is far from shutting down his recruiting. USC, Louisville and Penn State are others actively pursuing him. Gamecock coaches and his good friend, USC freshman corner John Dixon, have been in his ear a lot. Taylor took his official visit to Arizona State in May and committed soon after. He has scheduled an official visit to Louisville Oct. 4. He has been unofficially to South Florida, Louisville and Cincinnati among others. Some of his other offers are Michigan State, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Rutgers, Kansas State, Iowa State, USF, UCF, Duke, Illinois, Syracuse and Pitt.


Six-foot-9 PJ Hall of Dorman took his second official visit to Clemson over the weekend. He also took one in June as a junior, and he was back for an unofficial visit for the Georgia Tech game.

Phil Kornblut covers college baseball, basketball and football recruiting around South Carolina.