Defensive tackle Travis Shaw is one of Clemson's top targets in the 2022 recruiting class.
The Tigers have made Shaw a priority throughout and at one time were considered to lead comfortably for one of the best player's in the country.
However, as the dead period stayed in place for more than 15 months, that lead gradually disappeared. Georgia and North Carolina were both able to chip away at it and become serious contenders to land the elite-level talent out of Greensboro.
Heading into last weekend's Elite Retreat, when Shaw was back on campus for the first time in over a year, it was imperative that the Tigers coaching staff make up some of that lost ground and that is exactly what happened.
Shaw, who attended with his family, was able to spend a lot of time with Todd Bates and the Tigers' defensive tackles coach reinforced just how much of a priority Shaw is for this coaching staff. He also got to spend some time with Bryan Bresee and fellow North Carolinian Payton Page, which was also an important part of the visit.
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Clemson's track record of putting defensive linemen into the NFL really helps in this recruitment, as does the program's success rate with five-star prospects. Since 2008 the Tigers are putting 92.3% of their draft-eligible five-star players into the NFL, which is better than any other program in the country.
Shaw officially listed the four finalists in his recruitment last week, with Clemson, North Carolina, Georgia, and NC A&T making the cut.
He took an official visit to Georgia this weekend and he will take an official to Chapel Hill later this month. The fact that North Carolina is choosing to use his official now could be a sign that Mack Brown is concerned with exactly how much progress the Clemson coaching staff was able to make last weekend. In fact, it went so well that I think the Tigers should once again be considered the leaders.
It has been widely assumed that a decision would not come until the fall, but I'm not so sure that will be the case anymore. The recruiting process can be draining on high school kids and it would not surprise me if Shaw announced before the start of his senior season.
If that's the case, the All In Cookout in July could be Clemson's shot at putting a bow on this thing, with Swinney once again working some of that summertime magic that has worked so well in the past.
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