How to be a true freshman for Clemson
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will face a freshman class that is the biggest yet.
The Tigers will have four first-year players in the class of 2018, and the class is projected to be among the top 10 or 11 in the nation.
The first-team offensive line, defensive line, linebackers and safeties are all projected to have four-star ratings, which are based on how they perform on the field.
This is the first time Clemson has four offensive linemen rated in the top 25 in the country.
And the first-round recruiting class is one of the best in the past decade, according to 247Sports.
Clemson’s offensive line ranked No. 11 in ESPN’s composite rankings of all offensive lines in 2017.
The defensive line was ranked No., 13, in 2016.
The linebackers were ranked No, 7, in 2015.
The safeties were ranked 18, 22 and 24 in 2017, according the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Clemson is projected as a No. 4-ranked team by ESPN.
The school is projected by 247Sports to be No. 3 in the national rankings for 2018.
Clemson will be led by senior left tackle Jake Matthews, who is projected in the Top 25 of 247Sports for the first season.
Matthews has been on the radar of coaches around the country since he was a redshirt freshman in 2016 and signed with the Tigers as a walk-on in 2017 out of Mississippi State.
He will be the Tigers first-teamer for the 2018 season.
“Jake is a great athlete and a leader,” Swinny said.
“He’s also a good teammate and we’re very fortunate to have him.
He has great size and we think he has a great future.
He’s one of our first-time starters and we’ll be proud to have Jake Matthews.”
Matthews will start at left tackle for the Tigers, the position he played at Mississippi State for four seasons.
He is projected among the best tackles in the draft class by 247Composite, while Matthews is projected at No. 2 in the recruiting rankings by Rivals.com.
Clemson, which lost the national title game to Alabama in 2017 due to an injury to quarterback Tajh Boyd, will be looking to get back to the SEC Championship Game and win a national championship.
Clemson was one of only three teams that missed the NCAA Tournament.
The other two are Florida State and Louisville.
Clemson also had a strong season last year, winning 10 games and finishing with a national ranking of No. 1.
Clemson lost five of its final six games to finish the season ranked No: 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The team was one game ahead of LSU for the No. 16 spot.
Clemson currently has eight players rated in ESPN 300, the final four ranked in the 247Comps Composite and the other four rated in Rivals.
Clemson had six players rated a four- or five-star in the 2017 class, and nine players rated three or higher in the Composite.
The 2017 class is loaded with players from South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.
The 2018 class has nine first- and second-team players rated four or higher and eight players ranked two or higher.
The top three rated players are expected to play in the NFL Draft, with three of them rated as the top-ranked player in the 2019 class.
The next class is expected to be more loaded.
Clemson opens its 2018 season Sept. 6 against Georgia Tech in the Peach Bowl.
The game will be televised by ESPN and will air on ABC.
Clemson plays Georgia Tech on Sept. 14 in Atlanta.