Clemson commit Blake Vinson recovers from surgery, will enroll early


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Vinson plans on enrolling in January
Vinson plans on enrolling in January

Blake Vinson is tuning out The Opening and staying away from the publicity surrounding Nike’s signature summer event. Instead, he’s focusing on strengthening his shoulder and preparing to enter Clemson in January.

The 2017 offensive line commit out of Citra (FL) North Marion earned an invite to The Opening after a stellar performance at the Nike Combine in Charlotte in early May. However, a shoulder injury suffered during spring practice derailed his trip to Oregon.

“After The Opening Regional, I started spring practice and I was doing a drill in spring ball and I felt a pop in my right shoulder,” Vinson told TigerNet. “I got an MRI the next day and the next week I went to the doctor. They told me I tore my labrum in the front part of my shoulder and that it would require surgery. A week from then, I had surgery - five weeks from last Thursday.”

Vinson says the shoulder feels fine, but he doesn’t know when he will be able to resume football activities and is unsure if he will be able to suit up this season.

“I'm feeling a lot better. I'm starting to get a lot of range of motion back and beginning to be able to do things,” he said. “It's a pretty long recovery process. Some doctors say it's four or five months until you can have contact and some say even six months. It just all depends on how well I recover. I can start running after six weeks, but I can't start lifting weights until the 12th week.

“It just all depends on how it's healing. It's all contingent upon how well I'm doing. Playing? I'm not sure I'll be able to play this season. I hope I can. I might be able to make the back half of the season if I'm lucky. At the best, I would be back for the last half of the season.”

Vinson said Nike informed him he couldn’t make the trip, so instead of following the festivities in Oregon he’s concentrating on getting better.

“It's different for offensive line and skill players. For skill players, they have it to where if you're injured you can still come, but for offensive linemen they can only take 20-something guys, so they opened it back up. I don't know who they invited with my invite,” Vinson said.

“Right now, I'm just mainly focusing on rehabbing the shoulder. I'm zoning out all of The Opening stuff and all of the hype with that just because I got invited and I want to be there, but I can't. I'm starting to get over that now and I'm just really focusing on getting better so I'll hopefully be able to play this season but mainly be ready for Clemson next winter.”

Vinson said the message from the Clemson coaches has been simple and to the point – get better and don’t worry about his scholarship.

“They've been really great and have been there through the whole process. I called Coach (Robbie) Caldwell and Coach (Jeff) Scott the day I felt my shoulder hurting and I've kept them updated the whole time,” Vinson said. “They're saying that they're still in my corner and they're still on my side. I have nothing to worry about as far as a scholarship and all of that is concerned. They want me to enroll early so I can get with their physical therapists and their trainers as fast as possible. They've been really great as far as giving me some insight into this type of tear in the shoulder and the rehab. The Clemson coaches have been very helpful throughout this process. And yes, I’m 100 percent enrolling early.”

Even though he isn’t paying attention to The Opening, he is following Clemson’s recruiting closely and loves what he sees.

“It's pretty cool. Everybody is recruiting pretty hard,” Vinson said. “We got Tee (Higgins) on the Fourth of July so that was pretty cool. It's really exciting to know that we're making possibly a historic class right now, so we just have to keep recruiting the guys that Clemson is really recruiting hard. We've just got to get them commit and then get them to National Signing Day. It's a lot of fun.”

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