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April 10, 2014

Fruhmorgen to Clemson

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For Clemson offensive line recruiting, evidently good things do come in pairs.

Tampa (Fla.) Plant four-star offensive tackle Jake Fruhmorgen committed to Clemson on Thursday afternoon in an announcement ceremony at his school.

Fruhmorgen (6-5, 292), ranked No. 80 nationally by Rivals.com, picked the Tigers over Florida, which had proximity and program profile in its favor. He also held offers from, among others, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"If you watch him on film, he's not only a technician as a run-blocker and pass pro, but he's a devastating blocker," Plant coach Robert Weiner said. "So he has the combination of being really good physically with being able to run and bend, which is what they look for in linemen today.

"He is physical, nasty and mean at the finish of a play, so that's a pretty good combination and probably what makes him one of the higher-ranked recruits in the country. And he's actually going to continue to grow."

In any other Clemson class, Fruhmorgen's addition would be celebrated on his merits alone.

But he joins a class that already features another potential bookend in Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett five-star Mitch Hyatt, ranked No. 14 nationally.

Since Rivals.com went online in 1999, the Tigers haven't signed an offensive lineman who carries a rating higher than 5.9. Both Fruhmorgen (5.9) and Hyatt (6.1) are at least a 5.9, positioning Clemson for its first offensive line haul ranked as a top-10 group since 1998.

Fruhmorgen -- whose father, Jake, played at Alabama and in the pros - has been on recruiting radars since last spring.

Clemson area recruiter Tony Elliott offered during the May evaluation period.

But the Tigers first got his attention in early December when coach Dabo Swinney stopped by Plant to open the contact period.

Fruhmorgen visited Clemson for the first time for the Feb. 1 elite junior day, accompanied by Weiner. Having expressed heavy interest in Clemson afterward, Fruhmorgen then brought his parents back for the March 8 junior day.

"The truth of the matter is, Jake has gone to every place that would be of interest to him," Weiner said. "He's been to Alabama, where his dad went. He's been to Notre Dame, where his grandparents were big supporters. So he's been to the obvious places, including Florida. I think eventually you come to the point where you've collected all the data to weigh out.

"As I always tell the kids, they create pluses and minuses, but at the end of the day their gut really tells them where they want to go. Schools have different personalities like the kids do. The most important thing is to match up the personality of the person and institution, and those are the ones that seem to work out the best.

"You can hem and haw about the depth chart and how early you will play. That's all great stuff to talk about in recruiting, but once you get there, it all changes. Someone transfers or comes in. Those dynamics move so quickly. So I tell kids to hold that as a low priority. At the end of the day, let's find a school where you're happy you are there, where there are people you can go to if something happens in your life where you needed them. I think that's what Jake's done."

Fruhmorgen becomes the seventh 2015 prospect committed to the Tigers, joining Hyatt and Boiling Springs (S.C.) lineman Noah Green, Decatur (Ga.) Columbia receiver Shadell Bell, Belmont (N.C.) South Point safety Tanner Muse, Charlotte (N.C.) West Mecklenburg safety Van Smith and Orlando (Fla.) Lake Nona quarterback Tucker Israel.

Follow Tigerillustrated.com throughout the day for extensive coverage of Fruhmorgen's commitment and what it means for Clemson.

Front page photo courtesy of the Fruhmorgen family.

To chat with other Clemson fans about this article please visit The West Zone message board.

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