2021 College Football Class Review: Clemson

By Corey Long - @CoreyLong
Updated Sept. 23, 2020.

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Conference Class Rank

Last Updated/Ranked: June 11, 2020
1 Clemson logo Clemson
2 North Carolina logo North Carolina
3 Miami logo Miami
4 Florida State logo Florida State
5 Louisville logo Louisville
6 Georgia Tech logo Georgia Tech
7 Virginia logo Virginia
8 Pittsburgh logo Pittsburgh
9 Boston College logo Boston College
10 N.C. State logo N.C. State
11 Syracuse logo Syracuse
12 Duke logo Duke
13 Virginia Tech logo Virginia Tech
14 Wake Forest logo Wake Forest

2021 College Recruiting - 13 Commits

Last Player Grade Published on July 29, 2020
Clemson logo OL Dietrick Pennington (Cordova, TN) commits to Clemson  View Class

Pennington (6-5, 330) is the ninth-ranked interior offensive lineman in the nation. He's big enough to where he could play guard or right tackle. Clemson is recruiting at such a high level that it has the luxury of moving a big man like Pennington to the inside.

Pennington plays on the defensive line too, so he's experienced both sides of the trenches. He's a technically sound football player, although maybe one of the bigger criticisms of Pennington is that he's too technical and could be a little more aggressive. But Pennington is a great athlete and carries his weight well. He is strong on his base, with good footwork and strong hands.

Dietrick Pennington's Player Grade: B+
Clemson logo DT Payton Page (Greensboro, NC) commits to Clemson  View Class

Page (6-4, 355) is the No. 6-rated defensive tackle in the nation. He is a mountain of a prospect, but he has quick feet and hands and good explosion off the snap. Page is strong and can get a good push off the ball even when he is facing double teams.

Clemson has some promising defensive ends on the roster and others in its current recruiting class, so a big body like Page to push the pocket and take on multiple blockers will keep the Tigers' defensive line humming for another few years. He is running a little heavy right now, but I expect he'll trim down a little when he gets into the Tigers' strength and conditioning program.

Page will be a strong run stuffer and a guy who can make the quarterback feel the heat in the pocket. He is another one in a long line of impressive defensive line prospects for the Tigers.

Payton Page's Player Grade: A-
Clemson logo WR Troy Stellato (Fort Lauderdale, FL) commits to Clemson  View Class

Stellato (6-0, 171) is a speedster at the wide receiver position. He has been clocked in the 4.4-4.45-second range in the 40-yard dash and plays against some of the best competition in the nation down in Broward County, Florida. Stellato is likely going to project out to the slot, and he specializes in situations where he can get in space and make plays after the catch.

Stellato can make the tough catches and shows toughness that is bigger than his listed size. While Stellato seems like a good fit for the slot, he will need to be more refined with his route running and be able to shake tighter man coverage. Stellato appears to be a good fit for Clemson's multi-faceted spread offense, which can line him up all over the field.

Troy Stellato's Player Grade: B+
Clemson logo DE Zaire Patterson (Winston-Salem, NC) commits to Clemson  View Class

Patterson (6-6, 234) has the length and frame to be a potential game changer as a defensive end in a four-man front. He could also be an outside linebacker with his ability to move in space, but I think he's better suited filling out his frame and putting his hand in the ground as a defensive end in a 4-3.

Patterson has the potential to be an elite pass rusher with some impressive speed around the edge. That speed translates well to closing in on plays and chasing down plays in the backfield while in pursuit. When Patterson fills out and develops, he has the potential to be a double-digit sack guy with significant NFL upside.

Zaire Patterson's Player Grade: B+
Clemson logo QB Bubba Chandler (Bogart, GA) commits to Clemson  View Class

This is an interesting development becuase Chandler was committed to play baseball at Georgia and wasn't really on the market as a quarterback prospect. But Clemson was interested, and after the Tigers made their offer, a few other programs like Ole Miss and Miami followed. Georgia, however, already has its quarterback situation set up for a while and didn't extend an offer to Chandler, so now he will play football and baseball for Clemson.

Chandler is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, and his arm strength absolutely translates over to the football field. He threw for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior. Chandler just fires the ball into tight windows. He is a big-time gamer and maybe a little bit of a risk taker. Much like a pitcher that doesn't back down from a hitter, Chandler won't back down from making the tough throws. He will give the Tigers another quality arm in the room and someone who will compete for snaps even if he isn't considered an "elite" prospect.

Bubba Chandler's Player Grade: B
Clemson logo LB Barrett Carter (Suwanee, GA) commits to Clemson  View Class

Barrett Carter's Player Grade: A-
Clemson logo RB Will Shipley (Matthews, NC) commits to Clemson  View Class

Clemson has some good running back prospects waiting in the wings, but the Tigers are still looking for the next Travis Etienne. I don't want to put that sort of pressure on Shipley with a comparison like that, but he has some of the elements that makes Etienne so dangerous in the Tigers' offense.

Shipley is a terrific pass catcher and route runner out of the backfield. He's not just a guy who will run screens, flares and wheel routes, because he can get open in the middle of the field and recognize the mismatches as well. Shipley has good size and can run with speed and power. Even though Shipley has the speed to break runs to the outside, he has no issues running between the tackles. Shipley's vision is next-level ready, and he has great anticipation, putting him seemly two moves ahead of the defense. Shipley is one of the top-10 running back prospects in the nation and makes the talent-rich Tigers richer.

Will Shipley's Player Grade: A
Clemson logo CB Jordan Hancock (Suwanee, GA) commits to Clemson  View Class

When Clemson goes fishing these days, expect the Tigers to catch a whale. Hancock (6-0, 165) is one of the top cover cornerbacks in the 2021 class and a legitimate top-100 player in the nation, regardless of position. On film, Hancock's closing speed is among the best I've seen. When it looks like he's too far off the route, he can just dart back in and make a play on the ball. He plays bigger than his size, and once he adds on mass in college, his style of play will be that off a bigger cornerback who is equally adept at coverage and tackling. Hancock can run well with fluid motion and is great at changing directions. He is at one of the top programs in Georgia and plays against top competition every Friday. Hancock has the potential to be a very good one.

Jordan Hancock's Player Grade: A-
Clemson logo OT Marcus Tate (Fort Lauderdale, FL) commits to Clemson  View Class
Tate (6-5, 300) is a physical specimen who will continue to grow, and it's safe to say he's probably the top offensive line prospect in the 2021 class for the state of Florida. He has a big frame with thick, long arms, and he is a devastating, physical blocker even at such a young age - 16. He is likely the top tackle in the state and has an NFL ceiling. Tate is Clemson's fifth commitment in their 2021 class, which already looks like it will be in the top five. Marcus Tate's Player Grade: A+
Clemson logo OL Ryan Linthicum (Damascus, MD) commits to Clemson  View Class
Linthicum (6-4, 270) is likely going to be the top center prospect in the class of 2021. He chose the Tigers over Ohio State, LSU, Maryland, Michigan and a host of other top schools. Linthicum is the fourth prospect in Clemson's 2021 recruiting class. He is a projected center but in reality, Linthicum can play anywhere on the offensive line and be effective. He has very good feet and is a plus-level athlete with explosive speed and strength at the point of contact. Linthicum finishes blocks well and can be overpowering when he gets his hands on a defender. He has legitimate blue-chip potential and an NFL ceiling. Ryan Linthicum's Player Grade: A+
Clemson logo LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Philadelphia, PA) commits to Clemson  View Class
The name should sound familiar, especially to Eagles fans. The son of the former Pro Bowl middle linebacker is a chip off the old block. Trotter Jr. is built a little like his dad, with a big upper body (6-0, 215), and he'll likely round out around 230-235 pounds when he ends up on campus in a couple of years. Trotter is hit machine in the middle of the defense, and he's strong against the run. He plays hard, and he plays smart, which shouldn't be a surprise given his pedigree. As with most linebackers in today's college game, he'll have to continue to work on his coverage and his play in space. Jeremiah Trotter Jr.'s Player Grade: A+
Clemson logo WR Dacari Collins (Powder Springs, GA) commits to Clemson  View Class
Collins was part of a large contingent of recruits who was on the Clemson campus for last Saturday's game against Texas A&M. Collins already looks physically impressive considering his age, going at a shade under 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. With that sort of size, he should easily project as more of an outside receiver, but Clemson tends to also use bigger guys in the slot. South Carolina, LSU, Alabama and Florida were among Collins' early offers. He's the third player in Clemson's 2021 recruiting class. Dacari Collins' Player Grade: A+
Clemson logo RB Phil Mafah (Loganville, GA) commits to Clemson  View Class
Mafah, one of the bigger backs (6-1, 210) among underclassmen, became the first commitment to Clemson in the 2021 class. The Tigers beat out Auburn for his commitment. Combine Mafah's power running style in between the tackles with the speed-power style of 2020 commit Demarckus Bowman, and the Tigers should have a very good rotation in 2021 and 2022. Mafah has some open-field speed, but he's a powerful runner with a strong lower body who's tough to break down and runs right through arm tackles. He has been productive in high school already, rushing for over 700 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore. Phil Mafah's Player Grade: A+

All Commitments - 14

Most recent Commitment on July 29, 2020
  • 7/29 - Dietrick Pennington G
  • 7/28 - Payton Page DT
  • 6/5 - Troy Stellato WR
  • 5/26 - Zaire Patterson DE
  • 5/20 - Bubba Chandler QB
  • 5/19 - Barrett Carter LB
  • 5/5 - Will Shipley RB
  • 3/10 - Jordan Hancock CB
  • 1/25 - Beaux Collins WR
  • 9/24 - Marcus Tate G
  • 9/23 - Ryan Linthicum G
  • 9/7 - Jeremiah Trotter Jr. ILB
  • 9/7 - Dacari Collins WR
  • 8/29 - Phil Mafah RB

Last Season's Roster:

  • Seniors: 12
  • Juniors: 27
  • Sophmores: 29
  • Freshmen: 52
DB: 21 Players | 136 games played
Sr:3 Jr:4 So:5 Fr:9
Player Class Games|Starts
Derion Kendrick So 9|9
Tanner Muse Sr 9|9
A.J. Terrell Jr 9|9
KVon Wallace Sr 9|9
Nolan Turner Jr 9|2
Andrew Booth Jr. Fr 9|0
Denzel Johnson Sr 8|0
Sheridan Jones Fr 8|0
Jalyn Phillips Fr 8|0
Lannden Zanders Fr 8|0
Joseph Charleston Fr 7|0
Mario Goodrich So 7|0
LeAnthony Williams So 7|0
Elijah Turner Jr 6|0
Carson Donnelly Fr 5|0
Peter Cote So 4|0
Brian Dawkins Jr. Jr 4|0
Jake Herbstreit Fr 3|0
Ray Thornton III Fr 3|0
Michael Becker Fr 2|0
Jack McCall So 2|0
DL: 20 Players | 118 games played
Sr:0 Jr:5 So:6 Fr:9
Player Class Games|Starts
Tyler Davis Fr 9|8
Nyles Pinckney Jr 9|8
Justin Foster Jr 9|7
Logan Rudolph So 9|7
K.J. Henry Fr 9|0
Darnell Jefferies Fr 9|0
Justin Mascoll Fr 9|0
Jordan Williams So 9|0
James Edwards So 7|0
Regan Upshaw Jr 7|0
Xavier Thomas So 6|4
Xavier Kelly Jr 6|0
Ruke Orhorhoro Fr 5|0
Tristan Walliser Jr 4|0
Jacob Edwards So 3|0
Tayquon Johnson Fr 2|0
Klayton Randolph Fr 2|0
Etinosa Reuben Fr 2|0
Greg Williams Fr 2|0
Nick Eddis So 0|0
K: 3 Players | 19 games played
Sr:1 Jr:0 So:1 Fr:1
Player Class Games|Starts
B.T. Potter So 9|0
Steven Sawicki Sr 7|0
Jonathan Weitz Fr 3|0
LB: 15 Players | 81 games played
Sr:1 Jr:3 So:2 Fr:9
Player Class Games|Starts
Isaiah Simmons Jr 9|9
James Skalski Jr 9|9
Chad Smith Sr 9|9
Mike Jones Jr. Fr 9|0
Kane Patterson Fr 9|0
Baylon Spector So 9|0
Jake Venables Fr 8|0
John Boyd So 5|0
Landon Holden Jr 4|0
LaVonta Bentley Fr 3|0
Keith Maguire Fr 3|0
David Cote Fr 2|0
Matt McMahan Fr 2|0
Bryton Constantin Fr 0|0
Matthew Maloney Fr 0|0
LS: 3 Players | 17 games played
Sr:1 Jr:1 So:1 Fr:0
Player Class Games|Starts
Patrick Phibbs Sr 9|0
Jack Maddox So 5|0
Tyler Brown Jr 3|0
OL: 19 Players | 102 games played
Sr:4 Jr:2 So:5 Fr:8
Player Class Games|Starts
Tremayne Anchrum Sr 9|9
Jackson Carman So 9|9
Gage Cervenka Sr 9|9
Sean Pollard Sr 9|9
Matt Bockhorst So 9|1
Cade Stewart Jr 9|0
John Simpson Sr 8|8
Jordan McFadden Fr 8|0
Will Putnam Fr 7|0
Chandler Reeves Jr 7|0
Kaleb Boateng Fr 4|0
Hunter Rayburn Fr 4|0
Mason Trotter Fr 4|0
Blake Vinson So 2|0
Mac Cranford Fr 1|0
Will Edwards Fr 1|0
Zac McIntosh So 1|0
Marquis Sease So 1|0
Chase Guynup Fr 0|0
P: 2 Players | 11 games played
Sr:0 Jr:1 So:0 Fr:1
Player Class Games|Starts
Will Spiers Jr 9|0
Aidan Swanson Fr 2|0
QB: 5 Players | 29 games played
Sr:0 Jr:0 So:3 Fr:2
Player Class Games|Starts
Trevor Lawrence So 9|9
Chase Brice So 8|0
Ben Batson Fr 7|0
Taisun Phommachanh Fr 3|0
Patrick McClure So 2|0
RB: 8 Players | 50 games played
Sr:0 Jr:3 So:2 Fr:3
Player Class Games|Starts
Travis Etienne Jr 9|9
Lyn-J Dixon So 9|0
Darien Rencher Jr 9|0
Chez Mellusi Fr 8|0
Michel Dukes Fr 7|0
Ty Lucas Fr 5|0
Tyler Traynham Jr 2|0
Sylvester Mayers So 1|0
TE: 6 Players | 35 games played
Sr:1 Jr:1 So:2 Fr:2
Player Class Games|Starts
J.C. Chalk Jr 9|9
Davis Allen Fr 9|0
Luke Price So 9|0
J.L. Banks Sr 5|0
Jaelyn Lay Fr 3|0
Braden Galloway So 0|0
WR: 18 Players | 117 games played
Sr:1 Jr:7 So:2 Fr:8
Player Class Games|Starts
Tee Higgins Jr 9|9
Diondre Overton Sr 9|4
T.J. Chase Jr 9|0
Frank Ladson Jr. Fr 9|0
Joseph Ngata Fr 9|0
Cornell Powell Jr 9|0
Will Swinney Jr 9|0
Justyn Ross So 8|8
Amari Rodgers Jr 8|6
Will Brown So 5|0
Carter Groomes Jr 5|0
Josh Jackson Jr 5|0
Max May Fr 5|0
Drew Swinney Fr 5|0
Hamp Greene Fr 4|0
Tye Herbstreit Fr 4|0
Hampton Earle Fr 3|0
Brannon Spector Fr 2|0


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