Coaches stop in California, see LeBron, Ngata, and Uiagalelei
|Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 7:01 AM- -|
Nothing like a quick trip to California, a chance to see LeBron James in his new home, and the opportunity to see two highly-regarded prospects.
No. 2 Clemson starts Cotton Bowl practice this afternoon, but head coach Dabo Swinney and assistant coaches Tony Elliott, Jeff Scott, and Brandon Streeter flew to California Monday to visit 2019 Clemson wide receiver commit Joseph Ngata and 2020 quarterback prospect DJ Uiagalelei.
Swinney, who hasn’t made it a secret that he’s a big LeBron James fan, and the coaches made it to the Staples Center in time to see the Lakers defeat the Miami Heat 108-105.
The coaches then made the trip up to Folsom to meet with Ngata, the 5-star receiver who plans to sign during the early signing period and enroll early. Due to time restraints and the number of people that wanted to meet with the coaches (family and coaches), the visit took place at a local eatery called Marly and Moo instead of the Ngata home.
Swinney and Scott visited with Ngata.
“It was different because they are on a different schedule and with me, there was no way they could come back to my house in the evening,” Ngata told TigerNet. “So we went to a nice restaurant and we ate there. With recruiting, everything is a matter of patience and honesty with yourself and with the coaches, and that's the biggest thing for me.
“We talked about how both the coaching staff and me as a player and a person are excited to come down there and get started with everything. I am ready to develop as a player and a person and grow. That is pretty much what we talked about. And then we talked about old coaches - I had one of my coaches there and he knew Gene Stallings, so we were talking about that. It was a good time to meet and talk with the coaches and eat some good food.”
Ngata said it was a chance for his family and coaches to bond with the coaches and feel reassured about the decision to travel cross-country for school.
“I already knew it. I just wanted my coaches and my parents to be reassured,” Ngata said. “It feels really good knowing that Coach Swinney and Coach Scott were there. They explained the Clemson program and I feel like my parents and my coaches were satisfied with what they had to say. I already knew that, so I was pretty much just along for the ride. I already know the deal and everything I am getting into.”
All four coaches visited St. John Bosco before heading home. Because Uiagalelei is a junior, the coaches can’t have contact on the visit, but the coaches were able to spend time with Uiagalelei’s coaches and take a few pictures before heading home.
I’ve been told by one of the Bosco coaches that the visit went as well as could be expected, and it still feels like the Tigers are the leader at this point.
Now, onto a few more 2020 prospects that have landed Clemson offers in the last week.
Clemson offered tight end Lukas Ungar of Morristown, NJ.
“Receiving a Clemson offer is something that I have dreamed of. It is an amazing feeling to realize that a high-caliber school like Clemson would want me to play at their school,” Ungar said. “I like a lot about Clemson. I like how amazing the football is and how they are contenders for a national championship every year.
“Another big plus to Clemson is the academic aspect of the school. As an ACC school, Clemson holds their students to higher standards than most in the classroom and on the football field.”
Ungar said he plans to visit sometime early in 2019. Some of his other offers are Michigan, Duke, Cal and Wisconsin.
Also, 2020 TE/DE Braiden McGregor of Port Huron (MI) picked up a Clemson offer last week.
“I think Clemson is a really special place. I really like what they have going on down there,” he said. “I think with them offering me as both tight end and D-end, it’s a great opportunity because I’m not sure which one I want to play in college.”
McGregor said he plans to make a stop at Clemson this spring while going on a tour of schools. Some of his other offers are Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Iowa and Wisconsin.