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Clemson's recent hiring of Nick Eason as its defensive tackles coach and defensive run game coordinator could pay an immediate big dividend during the Feb. 2 national early signing period.
Eason's decision could positively affect a big area of need in the current recruiting class. The former Clemson standout defensive tackle and longtime NFL player and assistant coach recently joined the Tigers after only one season as defensive line coach at Auburn, his college coaching debut.
Eason formerly was the primary recruiter for former Auburn commit Caden Story of Lanett (Ala.) High School. He is the 225th overall prospect, No. 27 defensive tackle and 11th-best player in his state, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Story committed to Auburn Aug. 1 but decided not to sign last month. He decommitted Jan. 16, just nine days after Eason joined Clemson. He now has a final three of Clemson, Auburn and Florida and plans to sign Feb. 2. He played last month in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, where Clemson quarterback signee Cade Klubnick had a huge performance.
"Due to recent changes and careful reconsideration, I've decided to de-commit from Auburn University," Story posted on Twitter. "Auburn is still one of my top schools, but I have to make sure I'm making the best decision for me and my family."
Story (a 6-foot-3, 282-pound four-star prospect) visited Clemson's campus this past weekend and is expected to visit Florida before the end of the month.
His home is 28 miles from Auburn's campus. His father, Clifford Story, was also his high school coach, and his brother, Kristian Story, was the 2019 Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year who just finished his sophomore year as an Alabama defensive back.
Caden Story had 17 sacks this past season on his way to being named the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 2A Lineman of the Year.
"Caden is what I call country strong,” Clifford Story told Al.com Sports. "Whenever he puts his hands on people, they go backward.”
Clemson signed no defensive tackles or ends during last month's early signing period and is the likely landing spot for Daniel lineman Jahiem Lawson (No. 1,550 overall, 180th defensive tackle and 25th in state). The Tigers are not a finalist for their two other 2022 defensive tackle offers -- Shemar Stewart (No. 12 prospect overall and No. 2 at the position) and Christen Miller (106 and 16 ).
Despite being listed inside, Lawson would begin his college career on the edge before getting into the big-time weightlifting program wherever he ends up.
The Tigers have eight scholarship defensive tackles expected to be on next season's roster -- Bryan Bresee, Tyler Davis, Ruke Orhorhoro, Etinosa Reuben, Tre Williams, Demonte Capehart and Payton Page. The deadline for football players to enter the NCAA transfer portal and remain immediately eligible for the 2022 season is Feb. 1.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Nick Eason's Clemson hiring could help lure recruit at area of need