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Clemson Football Recruiting

Clemson is the front-runner to land a four-star offensive lineman on early signing day

December 19, 2023

On a brisk December afternoon in south Georgia, Elyjah Thurmon‍’s phone lights up. He’s been sitting on his porch taking calls all day. Sometimes, it’s a college football coach desperate to sign him. Other times, it’s reporters prying for information. It’s been this way for weeks now.

Thurmon finds a break between calls to catch up with his mother. They need to talk about the decision he’s been putting off all year.

Most recruits are committed by now. Thurmon is one of only 17 ESPN300 prospects still available because Clemson’s late push has complicated things.

Even though Clemson started recruiting him years later than Florida and LSU, Dabo Swinney’s offer might be too good to turn down.

Clemson’s offensive line underperformed last fall and is facing more turnover. Swinney fired offensive line coach Thomas Austin, and multi-year starter Will Putnam‍ is off to the NFL. The returning group is shaky at best.

Matt Luke contacted Thurmon within 48 hours of taking the Clemson offensive line coaching job. They have been in contact nearly every day since.

Luke’s reputation precedes him: He won a national championship coaching Georgia’s offensive line and is a former Ole Miss head coach.

"Luke is going to get me to the league," Thurmon said. "He's going to change this entire offensive line group that just had a 'mid' year."

While Clemson doesn't have an elite track record of producing NFL offensive linemen, Thurmon said adding Luke changes his perspective.

"It helps that he coached Broderick Jones and Laremy Tunsil,” Thurmon said.

Swinney told Thurmon that the program needs him because the offensive line room lacks depth. He also likes the four-star’s versatility and ACC-ready size.

Thurmon claims he can play any of the five offensive line positions at the collegiate level, though the On3 recruiting service says he fits best on the interior.

The four-star says early playing time is paramount to his commitment decision.

"I want to come in immediately and not have to sit back and redshirt,” Thurmon said. “I want to know all my calls and be in the weightlifting program early."

With the uncertainty on Clemson’s offensive line and Thurmon’s advanced skillset, the opportunity to make an immediate impact at one of college football’s blue blood programs might be too good for the Georgia native to turn down.

Clemson must beat out Florida and LSU to land the four-star. Thurmon will announce his decision on December 20, the first day of the early signing period. 

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