2020 4✮ OLB Trenton Simpson has been quoted as saying that Clemson is his dream school. Many close to Simpson believed that if Clemson offered, he would eventually be a part of the Tigers 2020 class. Well, that offer came on Saturday and like many thought, he wasted no time committing to Dabo Swinney and company.
Just 45 minutes after announcing the offer, Simpson took to Twitter to announce his commitment to the college of his dreams. How quickly it happened wasn’t expected, but it doesn’t come as a complete shock by any means. Simpson has remained in constant contact with Clemson since he decommitted from Auburn back in October and even took his official visit to the school this weekend without an offer in hand. That choice to visit paid off for Simpson, as now he is part of a loaded Clemson class that is ranked No. 1 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings in the 2020 class.
The Tar Heels did just about everything they could to land Simpson’s commitment prior to Saturday, but just couldn’t get him to seal the deal and commit after he decommitted from Auburn. The Tar Heels provided him with an opportunity at early playing time and a chance to represent his home state as a standout star. Simpson said a while back that he wanted to go to a place that he was wanted, something that the Tar Heels provided. Mack Brown and his staff did just about everything they could and made it known that he was the top priority in the class and had been since Desmond Evans’ commitment. The Clemson was just a bit too much for Simpson to turn away, though, and with the Tigers heading to their fifth straight college football playoff, who can blame him?
From the Tar Heel perspective, this loss definitely hurts, but this is not a death blow. As of right now, the Tar Heels are only scheduled to lose on player at linebacker due to graduation in Dominique Ross, a player that Simpson skill set lined up well with. Still, All-ACC linebacker Chazz Surratt and fellow starter Jeremiah Gemmel scheduled to return, the linebacking unit still looks to be in solid shape. Eugene Asante looks primed to handle a larger role next season and Matthew Flint will be back, fully healthy as well, which will be a nice boost. The Tar Heels are also bringing in two linebackers already in the 2020 class in 4✮ Ethan West and 3✮ Cedric Gray and jumbo athlete Jefferson Boaz also has the ability to play outside linebacker if needed. The one move that could complicate things at linebacker would be if Surratt was to bolt early for the NFL Draft. If that were to happen, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Tar Heels attempt to dip into the transfer portal to try and find some more experienced help. One intriguing name to keep an eye on if that case was to come to fruition is former Tennessee linebacker Shanon Reid, a player who committed to current Tar Heel linebacker coach Tommy Thigpen when he was still a part of the Volunteers coaching staff.
This is a huge blow for the Tar Heels, who were all but certain to land Simpson’s commitment if the Tigers were to withhold that offer ahead of Wednesday’s early signing period. That didn’t happen and now the Tar Heels aren’t able to add the final piece they needed to jump into the top 15. The key now for Mack Brown and the staff becomes to hold on to the commitments of 4✮ DUAL Jacolby Criswell and 3✮ DT Clyde Pinder Jr. and keep this Tar Heel class in the top 20, something that is still worthy of being recognized as a very strong class that is helping Brown and the staff build to what they want to get to by the end of Mack Brown’s tenure.