In a bit of an upset, the nation's top football recruit, 6'5", 270-pound defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of Georgia, gave a verbal commitment to Clemson on Thursday afternoon, multiple outlets are reporting. (TigerIllustrated.com had the news first.)
Alabama, where Nkemdiche's high school coach, Mickey Conn, played; Mississippi, where Nkemdiche's brother Denzel is a freshman; and homestate Georgia were thought to be the frontrunners for Nkemdiche.
But Clemson had an in as well: Coach Dabo Swinney was a roommate and teammate of Conn with the Crimson Tide. Moreover, two of Nkemdiche's Grayson High teammates, DB David Kamara and RB Wayne Gallman, previously committed to the Tigers, who are one of the up-and-coming programs in the nation.
Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a lot of good background here