Jackson Carman picked Clemson to "develop to my full potential"


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Jackson tosses a defender during a September game against East Lakota
Jackson tosses a defender during a September game against East Lakota

The biggest surprise of the early signing period might have been Jackson Carman committing to Clemson. How did the Tigers wind up with the best prospect in the state of Ohio?

The Fairfield, Ohio, prospect is the No. 1 tackle and No. 9 overall recruit in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Carman signed with Clemson University in front of family, friends, coaches and teammates inside the Community Room at Fairfield High School.

Carman is also the No. 1-ranked player in Ohio regardless of position. He’s also ranked the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2018 class by ESPN.com and had well over 40 scholarship offers during the recruiting process.

Long considered an Ohio St. lean, social media was abuzz last weekend with rumors that Carman had committed to USC, one of his three finalists. Clemson stayed in the shadows of the other two but won the day and Jackson’s services.

“Going through this whole recruiting process has been crazy. I’m thankful and blessed to get all of the opportunities have from all of the colleges that have recruited me, but it came down to my final three - Ohio State, USC and Clemson,” Carman said. “They’re all great programs. I think the deciding factor was the environment, coaching staff and just the love that Clemson has. That’s a place I can really see myself being and where I can see myself developing to my full potential and that’s why I chose the Clemson Tigers.”

When did he make his final decision?

“This morning after a long, hot shower. I would say that Ohio State was probably closer (in second) just because of how prestigious Ohio State is as a program,” Carman said. “When I finally came to the realization that Clemson was the place for me, it was like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.”

Carman is known to be an independent thinker, and he says he understands why people would question his decision.

“I was not surprised, but I understand why everyone else would be surprised because I’m from Ohio and Ohio State being who they are, but I do feel like this is the best decision for me and I’m glad I made it,” he said, before adding that he thought long and hard about leaving the state.

“I wouldn’t necessarily that’s the fact that leaving Ohio is the biggest thing about it, but if leaving Ohio is necessary for me to start my legacy, then that’s a decision that had to be made and I wasn’t afraid to make that decision at all,” Carman said.

He joins a recruiting class that is among the nation’s best.

“All of the guys that they recruited and signed with Clemson are all great guys,” he said. “Guys like Trevor Lawrence and Xavier Thomas reached out and talked to me. When I told them my decision this morning, they were all happy. That’s a great group of guys that I’m looking forward to being with over the next four years.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was all smiles when talking with reporters.

“Well, I mean, sometimes you sign guys that have everything in the box,” Swinney said. “The guy’s 350 pounds and can move. Probably none of y’all here that can outrun him. I’d be willing to lay money on that. He can absolutely fly for a 350-pound man. He’s very physical and the No. 1 player in Ohio.

“Y’all have heard me say many times and you’ve just kind of got to put it all together. You got a lot of those guys that come through here whether it be a Vic Beasley, kind of takes a little while to develop them into a special guy and then sometimes you’ve got guys you just kind of, they’ve just got everything that you could possibly look for. That’d be a Sammy Watkins, a Deshaun Watson, those type of guys. They just show up and you go, ‘Wow.’ Dexter Lawerence. Christian Wilkins. That’s kind of what (Carman) is. Just a huge pickup for us. We weren’t going to sign a lot of lineman in this class.”

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