Clemson football recruiting: Four-star EDGE Ari Watford commits, pushing Tigers' class into top five for 2025


Clemson bolstered its 2025 recruiting class Wednesday with the commitment of touted edge rusher Ari Watford on Wednesday. The Maury High School (Norfolk, Virginia) standout the No. 2 edge rusher and No. 20 overall prospect in the 2025 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports.

Watford has garnered at least 29 offers during the course of his recruitment, according to 247Sports. Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee have all thrown their hats in the ring for Watford’s services.

Watford becomes the highest-ranked Clemson commit within the 2025 cycle. He’s the fourth four-star prospect in his cycle to join Clemson’s recruiting haul. 

At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Watford has potential to terrorize opposing offenses in the ACC upon arrival to Clemson. He totaled 12 sacks during his sophomore season. In 2023 he helped lead Maury to the state title with seven sacks.  

247Sports recruiting analyst Hudson Standish raved about Watford’s upside. 

‘Tall, long, and lean with immense bulking capacity. Junior season has revealed much more impressive run-defending performance relative to sophomore tape. Explosive functional athlete who appears to be one of the top pass rushers in the class. Physical specs and combine athleticism support that. Uses hands well. Often wins with burst and physical tools, but also showcases one of the more impressive bags of moves that we’ve seen in the class. Projects as a potential high-major impact player with long-term NFL Draft early-round potential.’

With Watford in the mix, Clemson moves up to No. 5 in 247Sports’ recruiting rankings for the 2025 cycle with an overall score of 150.58. 





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