Clemson visit a highlight for C.J. Avery
|Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 7:55 AM- -|
Four-star 2017 safety prospect C.J. Avery has had a busy summer, attending football camps, visiting campuses and working out with his team.
A highlight of his summer, he told TigerNet, was touring the Clemson campus and attending Dabo Swinney Football Camp.
“Man, it was great,” Avery said by phone Saturday. “I just hung out for two days – I worked out one day. It was great, getting to know the coaches and stuff like that. I got to hang out with (defensive coordinator) coach (Brent) Venables the majority of a whole day when I was there, so it was pretty good. They showed a lot of love and made me feel welcome.”
The coveted safety out of Mississippi's Grenada (pronounced Grah-NAY-da) High School has his sights set on entering college in January, so he'll be announcing his destination well before National Signing Day.
“I want to early graduate, so I'll probably end up deciding right after this season – sometime in December,” Avery said.
Avery also visited Florida State, Mississippi and Mississippi State this summer. In July, he narrowed down his top five schools to those three along with Clemson and Louisville. He told TigerNet this weekend that he plans to make an official visit to Clemson this fall and attend the Oct. 1 Louisville game in Death Valley.
The message he has gotten from the Clemson coaching staff, Avery said, is that he could be an impact player from the get-go.
“(Coach Venables) told me he thinks that Clemson is a fit for me, man – he said he really does. He said that since they're really young at the safety position now, he feels like that's a really good place for me to come in and click,” Avery said.
While at camp in Tigertown, Avery got to spend time with several Clemson players as well as other recruits. Several of them left a lasting impression.
“When I was up there, I got to hang out with a couple of the guys and stuff like that,” he said. “Me and Kelly Bryant, the backup quarterback, we got pretty cool. And Deshaun Watson, of course, and Wayne Gallman – he's a great person to watch as far as how hard he runs. I got to hang out with him, too.”
Avery said his tour of the campus and facilities, including the new Football Operations Complex that's under construction, only underscored his belief that the university and program are on an upward trajectory.
“It just shows the direction the university is going,” he said. “And football is rising every year – I feel like they're really going to go to the national championship again and win it this year.”
The grit the Tigers showed during the 2015 season and in the National Championship Game resonated with the talented defender.
“The way that they handled themselves through adversity – it was just like a bunch of brothers playing,” he said.
Avery said his primary goal for the coming season is to bring home a state championship for the Grenada Chargers, who open the season Aug. 19 on the road at Cleveland (MS). A secondary goal, he said, would be to notch a statistical triumph.
“One goal of mine is to lead the state in interceptions,” he said. “I don't really have any more individual goals; all I want to do is win the state (5A) championship.”
As a junior, Avery had five interceptions, 76 tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
“We're practicing hard now, so we're going to be ready,” he said of the Chargers, who finished 9-3 in 2015 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
Avery said he wants to study business in college in preparation for a possible career in sports management. As far as football goes, he says he's ready to play at the collegiate level.
“I'm a player who's going to give a lot of focus and work hard,” he said. “I feel like nothing's going to be given to me, so I'm coming in from Day 1 and trying to get me a spot and trying to play as a true freshman.”
Venables and Mike Reed, assistant coach/defensive backs, have been the Clemson coaches primarily involved in recruiting Avery, who's listed at No. 77 on the ESPN 300 for 2017.
In addition to his aforementioned top five schools, Avery holds offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Auburn, California, Stanford, Cincinnati, Kansas and Tennessee, among others.