By Corey Long - @CoreyLong
After getting the best of Alabama on the field three months ago, Clemson is now trying to hit Alabama where it really hurts - in recruiting.
Eight times this decade, the Alabama Crimson Tide has had the top-ranked recruiting class at the end of a cycle by at least one, if not multiple, recruiting outlets. In 2019, the Tide had the highest-ranked class in Nick Saban's coaching history according to 247Sports' composite ranking system. Alabama has been the undisputed champions of recruiting.
Clemson has recruited extremely well under Dabo Swinney. The Tigers staff has put together classes that are consistently in the top 10 and sometimes in the top five. The ranking with Clemson often skews downward slightly because the Tigers don't seem to have as much turnover as other programs - like Alabama - so often they sign classes a little smaller in actual numbers.
But with the ability to sign a full recruiting class of 23-26 players this year, plus coming off a second College Football Playoff championship in three years and the likelihood of having multiple payers called in the first two days of the 2019 NFL Draft have created a perfect storm of opportunity for Clemson to sign the nation's top recruiting class in 2020.
And a big strike of lightning happened Tuesday when blue-chip defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, rated No. 1 overall by 247Sports and No. 6 overall in the Rivals 250, made a verbal commitment to Clemson. The decision by Bresee actually pushed Clemson ahead of Alabama for 247Sports' top class up to this point. There's a long way to go, and Alabama isn't finished with its recruiting class by a long shot.
However, there are reasons to believe that Clemson can hold off the Crimson Tide to remain at No. 1.
Top prospect D.J. Uiagalelei, widely considered the top quarterback prospect in the Class of 2020, is set to choose between Clemson and Oregon in early May. Clemson had long been considered the front runner, but Oregon is a live underdog, especially after Uiagalelei visited Oregon for the Ducks' spring game.
Jordan Burch, the top prospect in South Carolina is also a top-three defensive line prospect in the nation. Clemson has a high rate of success at landing top defensive line prospects in state. The Tigers will have to fight off Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama for Burch, but they are in a good position.
Myles Murphy, the top prospect in Georgia and a top-five defensive line prospect in the nation, has a group of Clemson, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia out in front of his recruitment.
If the Tigers can pull all three of those prospects, there's little doubt that they will be standing tall in early February with the top recruiting class in college football and break Alabama's stranglehold at the top.
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