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

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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.

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 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 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?

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