Dabo Swinney lands the big fish, now can he keep him?

By Bryan Fischer | Blogger

The news came as a surprise to many Thursday evening, that the nation's number one recruit did indeed commit to Clemson. Loganville (Ga.) defensive end Robert Nkemdiche is a Tiger?

As a matter of fact he is -- for now. And while that latter part is what a lot of non-Clemson fans will point to 237 days away from Signing Day, there's no question that this is a huge recruiting win for Dabo Swinney and his staff.

Any time the consensus top recruit in the country picks a school it will be a big deal but in the case of Clemson -- a non-traditional power from the ACC that was last seen on the football field chasing after West Virginia -- it's bigger than that. Now everybody will be talking about Clemson and rightfully so. It was a huge recruiting win for the program and allow them to go into homes across the country and say, 'Would you like to play with the best player out of high school since Jadeveon Clowney?'

For the quarterbacks especially, that might be pretty enticing.

"Robert is so dominant size and speed-wise," Grayson head coach Mickey Conn told MaxPreps this spring. "The guy could probably walk into an NFL locker room right now and you wouldn't be able to tell him from the others."

Nkemdiche will be a great fit in new defensive coordinator Brent Venables just like he would be in any other coordinator's defense. On the radar since he was a young sophomore, there have been few prospects to come out of the state of Georgia that have been as dominant as he has when stepping onto the field. Adding someone like that to any program is huge and for one that has thrived by developing defensive linemen like Clemson, it is something that everybody on the future schedule will take note of.

Clemson certainly did their best to land the five-star, getting commitments from his good friends and teammates Wayne Gallman and cornerback David Kamara. They made up a ton of ground and managed to get a pledge very early the process over favorites Alabama and Ole Miss, where his brother plays at. It's big news for the ACC too, which landed the No. 1 recruit for the first time since 2003.

Now comes the hard part as everybody knows who to gun for. Most don't think the Tigers can keep Nkemdiche in the fold. For the short and long term, that won't outweigh the publicity that has everybody buzzing about Clemson as a result of the decision. Nick Saban has long coveted the defensive end and will likely re-double his efforts. According to 247Sports' Barton Simmons, Nkemdiche's father was rumored to not be on board with the commitment to Clemson at this point. It's a long time until pen meets paper to say the least.

All signs point to this not being over but, for now, Swinney and staff can pop some champagne.


 
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