Swinney's Texas visit impresses top 2020 defensive back prospect
|Monday, January 21, 2019 1:49 PM- -|
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney didn’t have much time to spare in the week after the Tigers’ thrilling 44-16 victory over Alabama in the National Championship Game, but he did find time to make his way to Texas for a visit with one of the nation’s top defensive backs.
Four-star defensive back RJ Mickens of Southlake (TX) Carroll is listed as the No. 4 prospect at his position nationally by Rivals and has a long list of suitors that includes Florida, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and a bevy of others.
The 2020 prospect says that he is hearing from more than a few schools, with Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, Oregon, Texas A&M, and Michigan leading the charge.
Just a few days after the Tigers’ win over Alabama, Swinney stopped in to check in on Mickens.
“It was special because my coach told me I was the only person he had come into town to see,” Mickens told TigerNet. “So that was special and that meant a lot. And once he visited my school he turned around and flew back out and went back to Clemson. It just shows that I am a top priority and that means a lot.”
Coaches aren’t allowed to have contact with a junior prospect while visiting the school, but Mickens spoke with coach Mickey Conn later.
“I talked to Coach Conn on the phone and he was telling me that I was their top priority,” he said. “I was telling them they are one of my top schools, too. We talked about the National Championship and things they do there at Clemson and how they run things.”
Mickens visited Clemson for the Tigers’ big win over Louisville last season, and he was accompanied on the visit by his father, Ray, a former All-American defensive back at Texas A&M in the 1990s who went on to play in the NFL.
Another visit is in the works.
“They actually invited me to their Elite Junior Day. I know a lot of the top guys are coming in, and I definitely want to make it up there for that,” Mickens said. “But if I can't make it up there for that then I want to get up there a different day and see everything.”
What stands out about Clemson?
“I like the people there,” Mickens said. “They have good people and a good family culture. I like their winning culture, and they have top-notch facilities, great coaches and everything.”
When will he make a decision and where do the Tigers stand?
“I hope I have it made before the season. I am not too sure about that but that's the plan,” he said. “Clemson is at the top of the list, one of my top schools.”