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Recruiting Notebook: Clemson coaches on the trail this week in Georgia

December 15, 2023

The Georgia High School football state championships are a gold mine for college coaches and recruiters. Eighteen prospects rated four stars or better played in the games hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Clemson sent four assistant coaches to visit the deep talent pool that included a Clemson tight end commit and a five-star defensive line target. We were the only Clemson media outlet with a representative credentialed for these games, so here’s our notebook from the week:

Day 1 - Four-star 2025 defensive lineman Christian Garrett‍ had two sacks in Prince Avenue Christian’s 1A-D1 state championship win over Swainsboro. Garrett has a Clemson offer and is a notable target from Athens, Ga. He visited Death Valley in the fall, and I expect him to return to campus next year. He sheds blockers quickly and singlehandedly disrupted Swainsboro’s offense throughout the game.

Day 2 - Mike Reed was the first Clemson coach to visit the championships, watching from the sideline during the Perry vs. Stockbridge 4A championship game. Clemson freshman cornerback Shelton Lewis‍ played at Stockbridge.

Reed also stuck around for the Woodward vs. Thomas County Central game. Clemson has offered four-star defensive lineman London Merritt‍ (Woodward) and views him as a top target on the defensive line. He had a sack in the first half of the game.

Speedy four-star wide receiver Josiah Abdullah‍ (Woodward) visited Clemson on April 1 but does not have an offer from the Tigers. He could be a high-upside wide receiver target for Clemson as they get deeper into evaluating the 2025 class. Reed also laid eyes on Camron Brooks‍, a four-star and one of the top 2026 prospects in the nation. Brooks, who plays at Thomas County Central, is an explosive and physically gifted edge defender. He profiles as an instant-impact addition to a Power Five program.

Day 3 - Clemson had the heaviest presence on the third day of the championships, and for good reason. The opening game between Savannah Christan Prep and Cedar Grove featured four-star Clemson tight end commit Logan Brooking‍ and five-star Clemson defensive line target Elijah Griffin‍. Clemson tight ends coach Kyle Richardson visited (presumably to watch Brooking), while defensive tackles coach Nick Eason visited (presumably to watch Griffin).

Brooking mostly served as a blocking tight end in the Savannah Christian Prep offense but did have a 25-yard catch in the second half. He finished with three receptions for 37 yards. The four-star played with his fingers taped together and began his warm-up separately from the team, but he still made an impact on the game offensively.

The state of Georgia is loaded with defensive line talent, and Griffin is the best of the bunch. The five-star is a gap-stuffing defensive tackle with explosive traits, making him a tantalizing next-level prospect. He had five tackles and one tackle for loss (TFL) in Savannah Christian Prep’s 49-28 state championship loss. He finishes his junior season with 102 tackles, 32 TFLs, and 17.5 sacks from an interior defensive line position. It’s no wonder defensive line coaches from across the nation made the trip to Atlanta to watch him play.

Clemson is right in the thick of Griffin’s recruitment. They have a real chance to land the Savannah native. This will be the most important recruitment (outside five-star offensive lineman David Sanders‍) in the 2025 class.

Clemson co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Mickey Conn visited Atlanta for Day 3 of the championship games. If Clemson is recruiting a Georgian, there’s a good chance that Conn is involved.

Conn played a key role in landing Phil Mafah‍ from Grayson High School in 2021 and is responsible for earning commitments from four-star Georgia safety duo Ricardo Jones‍ and Noah Dixon‍ in the 2024 class.

On Wednesday, Conn had the opportunity to evaluate Griffin, Brooking, and Clemson receiver target CJ Wiley‍, a four-star from Milton High School. Wiley finished the season with over 1,400 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s one of the three highest-ranked 2025 receivers in Georgia and visited Clemson in November.

My take:

The road to a strong 2025 defensive line class runs through Georgia, and the Clemson program had multiple coaches on hand to watch targets like Griffin, Merritt, and Garrett. The staff got a look ahead at Brooks, a notable 2026 prospect, and Brooking, a four-star 2025 commit.

The program’s strong presence during championship week shows that the Clemson recruiting blueprint continues to revolve around pulling blue-chip recruits out of the Peach State. 

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