Each recruiting cycle, it becomes evident early if programs are prioritizing certain positions.
In addition to Clemson's focus on the cream of the crop in the trenches, the Tigers are also vying for elite talent in the secondary. Following the Tigers' offer to Hallandale, Florida's Alfonzo Allen, Jr., Las Vegas four-star safety Zion Branch recently joined Clemson's offer list for 2022.
Branch received an offer from Clemson on June 8. He is a 6-2, 190-pound safety who also plays wide receiver for Bishop Gorman. Additionally, he holds the school record in the men's 110-meter hurdles (2019) and is State runner-up in Triple Jump (2019).
Mountain Region Recruiting Analyst Blair Angulo compared Branch to Los Angeles Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins and had the following to say Nevada's 2022 third-ranked recruit according to 247 Sports:
"Highly physical defensive back with good ball-tracking skills. A well-rounded defender that can cover, make plays on the ball, and impact the run game closer to the line of scrimmage. Versatility to fit at various spots, with a chance to help out in the box. Natural feel in space and roams the secondary with confidence. Reacts quickly, closes on ball carriers and wraps up well. Displays top-notch instincts and motor, with the range to cover ground. Could improve overall fluidity and athleticism in man situations. Potential multiyear Power Five starter, All-Conference type performer, and NFL Draft Day 2 selection."
The rising junior and nation's third-ranked safety has assembled quite the offer list heading into year three of his prep career. In addition to the Tigers, the top 2022 defensive back holds offers from several college football powerhouses including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and Tennessee.
What We Learned from Clemson's Close Escape of Georgia Tech
Clemson's 14-8 win over Georgia Tech revealed how much Dabo Swinney's team has to grow, a concerning lack of explosiveness, ACC perfection in doubt and more.
Final Grades: Clemson Tigers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Tigers won their second game of the 2021 season Saturday, and while they were on the winning side, the grades show there is still a lot of work to be done.
Odds and Ends: Will Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence Earn First Pro Win in Week 2?
Former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and pro team Jacksonville are 6-point underdogs at home to the Denver Broncos in Week 2 of the NFL season.
Branch spoke highly of the Clemson program and not only the Tigers' winning tradition but their faith and family-based principles.
"I was really excited knowing that Clemson is such a great program that has a strong winning tradition. I was honored to receive the offer," he said in an exclusive interview with AllClemson.com.
The highly-touted safety declined to be specific but stated there are a few schools that have stood out so far. However, he is eager to take more visits before making his final decision.
"There are a few that are standing out to me, but I look forward to taking some visits before making my final decision," Branch said. "As of now, I plan on making a commitment by the start of my senior year."
He spoke candidly about what he's looking for in his future college home.
"I'm looking for a comfortable living environment, a place where I can get a great education and a school that will help prepare me for the future on and off the field. Lastly, I'm looking for coaches that will invest in me and help me develop to be the greatest football player," Branch said.
As a sophomore, Branch recorded five interceptions and 29 tackles, as his Gaels went 11-2 overall before falling to Liberty in the 4A State Title game.