Fact: Clemson will write an OL from North Carolina in this cycle

Rival Recruitment Analyst Adam Friedman – With Paul Strello Of TigerIllustrated.com, Chris Peak Of PantherLair.com, and Jesse Gembel TheWolfpackCentral.com – Deal with three issues and determine if you believe each statement to be FACT or FICTION.


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1. Clemson will sign at least one offensive lineman from North Carolina this cycle.

Sam Pendleton

Sam Pendleton (Nick Lucero / Rival.com)

Friedman’s Acceptance: FACT. Less than a month ago I would say it was a simple call, but now I’m a little less confident. Opponent 250 offensive lineman Sam Pendleton has grown bigger than playing for Clemson. It was his dream school, but now the Tigers are losing momentum and it could be hard to catch if Clemson comes up with a promise soon. Four-star Sullivan Abshar is also very close to the Clemson coach, and for a long time it looked like he would eventually play for the Tigers. Notre Dame and NC State are in their recently announced top three and a decision could be made relatively soon. Clemson’s edge in hiring Abshar has been questioned several times recently due to the efforts of Notre Dame staff and their current employers, but, like Will Shipley a few years ago, I think Abshar will choose Clemson.

Strelow’s acceptance: FACT. The needle is clearly heading for the NC state for Pendleton, and there are others who have a better chance of slowing that train down. But Abshar is someone who has always felt that he was in Clemson’s wheelhouse. A similarity of personality, he lives close to home, there are also various accessory connections between him and the program. Here it is assumed that the Tigers will not miss both.

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2. Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narducci’s new extension will help recruit Panthers.

Pat Narduzzi

Pat Narduzzi (AP Photo)

Friedman’s Acceptance: FACT. Narduji deserves a full coaching extension, and time is of the essence. There was not much time left in his current contract and he had just won a conference championship. A jolt of instability in the head coach’s position could set up a program almost overnight. With more than five four-star prospects throughout the 2023 and 2024 classes, just a few miles from campus, it is more important than ever for Narduzzi and his staff to do everything possible to capitalize on last season’s success. Now the long-standing question about the head coach’s contract will not stop that effort.

Acceptance of Peak: FACT. While Narduzi’s extension appears to have come naturally from Pitt’s ACC Championship in 2021, the reality is that the Panthers’ head coach’s tenure was extended regardless of last season’s results. When Narduzzi received his last extension at the end of the 2017 season, the terms of the contract ran into the 2024 season. It’s now two years away, and for employers in the 2023 and 2024 classes it was a deal that ended in the middle of their qualifications. With Nordozi and company working hard on 2023 local four-stars such as Ta’Mere Robinson and Rodney Gallagher and 2024 standouts Quinton Martin and Anthony Speca, it was crucial to sign a new contract this offseason beyond their college years.

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3. NC will sign four more stars within the state than North Carolina in the 2023 recruitment class.

Dylan Smudders

Dylan Smudders

Friedman’s Acceptance: FACT. This is a pretty interesting storyline that will become clearer over the next eight weeks or so. North Carolina has nine four-stars at the moment and the only committed is Tate & Javante Verin, who picked Wolfpack last week. Standouts like Noah Rogers and Sam Pendleton can be considered as NC State Lynn, while some are already counting players like Christian Hamilton and Rico Walker for Tar Hill. The other four stars – Dylan Smadars, Jack Myers, Sullivan Abshar and Kevin Concepcion – are either the two schools most likely to toss-up or leave the state. Some people are saying that this cycle is setting up for NC to dominate recruitment within the state. It could certainly turn out that way, but it could be a close competition. There should be more four-star signatures in the state than Tar Hill in the NC, but that may not be too much.

Gamble’s Acceptance: FACT. Mathematics is on the side of the NC state, also has a good case of speed in its favor. There are nine four-star prospects in the 2023 class at the moment, and the NC states are looking for six of them and they have a commitment from Verin. The rules of engagement in North Carolina are always simple – the first battle is the top choice within the state and then the acquisition of national power. We’ve reached a point where recruitments are starting to crystallize. NC State has emerged as the top choice in the state for Rogers, Concepcion, Smooders, Myers, Pendleton and Abshar. Some of these recruits, led by NC State quarterback Lex Thomas, are talking about playing together. UNC has emerged with Hamilton and Walker. The best chance for Tar Hill would be if some three-star potential turned into a four-star possibility down the road, such as Greensboro (NC) Grimsley’s nose tackle Jamal Jarrett.

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