Five to watch in Virginia

Tim Settle

When it comes time to hit the recruiting trail, the Clemson coaching staff always takes a hard look around four states: The Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

Lately, Virginia has drawn plenty of interest from Clemson. The arrivals of defensive coordinator Brent Venables and defensive backs coach Mike Reed have had something to do with that. But it certainly helps that state has produced some of the top defensive prospects in the country over the last couple of recruiting cycles.

Clemson has no commitments from Virginia. Not counting Kyrin Priester, who attended prep school in the state, the last prospect from Virginia to sign out of high school with Clemson was Isaiah Battle. But his ties to the state are because of high school and a post-grad season in prep school. Brooklyn is home for Battle.

OT Austin Clark
The window is closing on offensive tackle spots in Clemson's 2015 signing class. With two commitments already on the books, it would appear that there is space for just one more. Clark was one of several offensive tackle prospects to visit Clemson earlier this month for the Elite Junior Day event, which was his first trip to Clemson. The Rockbridge County three-star is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 34 offensive tackle in the country. Several ACC, SEC and Big 10 programs have offered.

DE Ricky DeBerry
A five-star outside linebacker from St. Christopher's School in Richmond, DeBerry profiles as an edge rushing defensive end when he gets to the college game. Listed at 6-2, 240, his build and skill set are comparable to Vic Beasley. DeBerry, who's been a well-traveled man over the last year or so, visited Clemson in the fall for the Georgia game.

DT Tim Settle
Another national recruit, Settle visited Clemson for Junior Day. The five-star is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the class of 2015. From Stonewall Jackson in Manassas, Settle is wide-open when it comes to a list of favorites. For now, the biggest factor he'll be weighing will be the experience he has while taking campus visits. The Clemson trip, his first to Tigertown, received a positive review.

CB Garrett Taylor
As noted on Wednesday morning, Taylor hasn't been on a college campus since his late-August trip to Clemson for the Georgia game. While the Tigers figure to be in strong position for the four-star cornerback, there are plenty of other suitors. Like Settle and DeBerry, his teammate at St. Christopher's, Taylor has plenty of options to choose from.

OLB Chad Smith
Clemson moved itself into very strong position with Smith after his trip down for the Elite Junior Day. While in town, Venables told Smith that he was the top linebacker on his 2015 recruiting board. For now, Clemson is in contention with Pittsburgh, Maryland, Duke, Illinois, Virginia and Virginia Tech. He's a three-star prospect out of Sterling's Dominion High School.

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