Would you like to receive DawgNation news alerts? Excellent! News alerts will be displayed in your browser.
Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
5-star Bryan Breese was working with Auburn rising senior Derrick Brown. Those are two guys we will have to pencil in as the ones that got away even with some incredible recruiting by the Georgia staff under coach Kirby Smart.

It was Georgia but then…How Clemson won the chase for 5-star DL Bryan Bresee

FRISCO, Tex. — It was one of those “for the record” conversations with 5-star DL Bryan Bresee. Bresee is an uncommon talent in the 2020 class.

Even for the dudes who show up at The Opening every summer and seem capable of whatever they aim to do on a football field.

Bresee rates as the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect and No. 1 DT for this cycle on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He shined at both DT and DE out in Texas. It is no stretch of his potential to project him as an All-American at Clemson.

See that picture up above? That one might sting for DawgNation. That’s former 5-star and Auburn rising senior Derrick Brown up there with Breesee. Was Brown that elite DL that got away?

It sounds like Bresee was. With his recruiting seemingly locked down tighter than a lineman’s shirt at the Opening, he shared a few details about the fourth quarter of his recruiting process.

Let’s rewind the clock back to July of 2018. Where did he think he was going to wind up after he made the Opening as a junior?

“Georgia,” Bresee said as he laughed. “Probably.”


“It was just where I felt comfortable,” he said. “Like with coach [Tray] Scott and everybody. Yeah. Like all the dudes I knew that was going there. I was just talking to Travon [Walker] and like Nolan [Smith] and all those guys. I just felt comfortable with everybody. Know what I mean?”

“Yeah. I probably thought that until just a couple of months ago.”

Bresee committed to Clemson on April 23 of this year. For the record, he said that the Bulldogs did wind up as his No. 2 school.

Georgia was the school that his older sister claimed a rubber band for. For her wrists. She wasn’t going to take it off until he chose Georgia or decided on another school.

What changed his mind?

Let’s be clear before we share the answer to that one. Clemson, in his mind, beat out Georgia. The Bulldogs and those recruiting ties that were already established by last July did not lose him.

“Honestly I had a great relationship with everybody from Georgia,” Bresee said. “Like I said. I think just the culture and the coaches [at Clemson] and like I said I loved coach Scott and all those guys. I still do. It was just the culture that Clemson is building and just how they look out for their players and everything. It was just a better fit for me.”

Bryan Bresee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Bryan Bresee and Auburn’s Derrick Brown. Those are two of the best defensive line prospects of this decade. For sure. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

How Clemson has won those D-line recruiting battles of late

Clemson has clear TV appeal. That “Power Rangers” stuff among their defensive linemen last year was noticed by several elite recruits. The Tigers are also putting more defensive linemen into the league than the Bulldogs are right now.

Bryan Bresee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Bryan Bresee is the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect for the 2020 recruiting cycle on the 247Sports Composite ratings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The nation’s No. 1 overall DT prospect has to notice that. That’s how a school separates itself or leapfrogs another in a recruiting story like this one.

Clemson had three first-round picks off its defensive line from its unbeaten 2018 national championship squad. It got by Alabama when it mattered with a title on the line. The Tigers also added a fourth-round draft picks from its D-line group in their 2019 draft, too.

The Tigers have seen five of their defensive lineman go in the first round since 2015. They also had another second-round selection in 2016. Georgia has had six first-round draft picks during that same span, but none of those players came out of its defensive line room.

Was that something that Bresee looked at?

“Um, I definitely looked at who they had,” Bresee said. “Like it is hard to miss when you have three guys go first round. So I mean that was definitely something I looked at. But it definitely wasn’t the main decision for me. Because I knew where ever I was going to go I was going to work as hard as I could and all these big-time coaches are going to develop you if you just put in the effort and the work.”

“That was a little bit of a factor but not much.”

Georgia is a primary 3-4 front. Clemson bases its defense out of a 4-3 set. Both programs are not beholden to that. They play whatever the game plan dictates to neutralize the weekly opponent with the personnel they have to play winning football.

Did that help separate these programs in his mind?

“I play the 4-3 because I have been working a lot of ‘3’ technique now,” Bresee said. “My pass rush stuff and probably on first and second down I will be playing a ‘5’ tech and then in pass rush situations move down to a ‘3’ at Clemson.”

Bryan Bresee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Bryan Bresee and Tate Ratledge. It was a lot of fun to watch those two compete at the Opening finals this year. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Bryan Bresee is going to be trouble in the ACC

Bresee is one of those guys that is fun to cover. Where ever he signs. He’s the sort that could have all the ego in the world but will still have fun and star in videos where he tries to eat a full-pound burger in less than 10 minutes.

When he spots reporters that he knows at these types of events, he says hello and asks how they have been. When he says “good to see you” it really sounds like he means it.

He’s also a competitor who holds a lot of respects for his peers. He had nothing to prove at these elite events, but he used a lot of his reps to go against the offensive line commitments to Clemson.

Bresee was there to make Clemson better, too. He also showed off mutual respect for a what he termed to be  “a great great player” in Georgia tackle commit Tate Ratledge. Check out this competition in this video and then how they treated one another afterward.

“He’s going to be really good at Georgia,” Bresee said of Ratledge. “Big frame. Big body. Can move really well for his size. Just going to be a really good player for Georgia.”

Ratledge and Bresee would go over the reps with one another afterward. They’d try to arrive at a scoreboard tally for each of them. It looked like two went to Bresee, another pair went to Ratledge and the other two were definitely up for debate.

How close was it between Clemson and Georgia in the end?

“Georgia was definitely number two,” Bresee said. “I think it really just jumped after, let me see, not my spring game visit to Clemson but the visit before that.”

He then went to go visit Georgia again after the first of those two early spring visits to Clemson.

“When I went back to visit Georgia for that last time right before I went to the spring game for Clemson it was like really tough. That was kind of the deciding thing I was like ‘Ok, I really like Clemson’ and I’m going to go to Georgia one more time because that was the only school which was still really in it for me at that point.”

“So I went to Georgia that one last time because I wanted to feel it out,” he said. “I didn’t want to make a wrong decision or a rushed decision. And I still had a great time at Georgia? You know why because it is like I said I still love all those guys. It was just Clemson. It was just where I felt the most comfortable even though it was still really close at that point.”

Bryan Bresee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Bryan Bresee was rated as the nation’s No. 1 prospect for the 2020 cycle on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He still looks as likely to succeed as any player in this 2020 class.  (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
We have a new way to comment on our DawgNation stories. To do so, you must be a registered user on the DawgNation forum. If you haven’t registered, please go to the Forum homepage on DawgNation and look for “register” on the right side.