IMG Academy defender taking notice of Clemson program
|Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 2:56 PM- -|
Clemson has pulled in a strong group of defensive linemen in recent recruiting classes, securing highly-regarded players at defensive end and tackle. Looking to continue that trend, Clemson offered four defensive linemen on June 1 for the 2022 class.
Walter Nolen, a 6-3, 280-pound defensive tackle from IMG Academy (FL), was one of those defensive linemen to secure the Clemson offer. Nolen is currently rated as the No. 6 player overall and the No. 1 defensive tackle in the ’22 class, according to 247Sports.
Clemson joined teams like Alabama, Florida, and LSU as schools to offer Nolen up to this point in his recruitment. Nolen has been in contact with Clemson defensive tackle coach Todd Bates regularly, and Nolen likes the environment that the Tigers have built.
“Coach Bates offered me,” Nolen told TigerNet. “He was just telling me that I earned it, and he said that this wasn’t like any other offer. I earned this one based on what I did in the classroom and everything. I’ve been talking to him once a week. He said he likes the way I play and that he wants to stay in contact with me. I get a good vibe from him.”
Nolen hasn’t had the chance to visit Clemson in person, but Nolen has taken a virtual tour of the facilities with Coach Bates.
“I thought it was cool,” he said. “It was different than other schools. He was showing me a little bit of everything. It looked like a good environment.”
With plans to see Clemson and many others when recruiting resumes, Nolen will be looking for the school that always feel like home.
“Whichever school makes me feel most at home,” Nolen said. “Even if the coaches move around and stuff like that. I’m looking at the mentality of the team and a place with good team chemistry.”
From talking to Coach Bates and learning about the Clemson program, Nolen has taken notice of the way Clemson operates away from the football field.
“I like how the coaches run things,” he said. “They want to do more than win, they want to build young men into adults. I feel like I would like it. The way Coach Bates was showing me everything, it looked like a good place.”
At the high school level, Nolen has moved around from end to tackle on the defensive line. Looking ahead to his college career, Nolen feels like he will do the most damage up the middle.
“I’ve got quick and heavy hands,” Nolen said. “I’ve got good footwork, and I don’t quit on the play. In high school, I’ve moved around from inside to outside. I feel like I’m going to be an inside guy, and I feel like sometimes I could play outside too.”
Nolen played the 2019 football season at Olive Branch HS in Mississippi before making the move to IMG Academy. Nolen is a powerful player with a fast first-step. Nolen consistently blows offensive linemen off the ball, showing off his strong hands and long arms. Nolen plays very violently, shedding blockers quickly and meeting ball carriers with big hits. Nolen also shows a tremendous amount of athleticism on film, moving laterally to shoot gaps and track down players behind the line.