Tigers going head-to-head with Buckeyes for top recruit
|Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 8:01 AM- -|
Clemson and Ohio State have had their fair share of meetings in big games. Clemson has emerged victorious in all of those games, and now they’re looking to win a battle with the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail.
Clemson has been tabbed “WRU” by numerous media outlets, and they’re looking to lock up another big-time receiving threat in the 2021 class. Troy Stellato has narrowed his college choices down to Clemson and Ohio State, and the decision has been a tough one for the Florida playmaker. TigerNet caught up with Stellato about his upcoming decision and his thoughts on the Tigers and Buckeyes.
Stellato, a 6-1 180-pound receiver from Cardinal Gibbons (FL) Fort Lauderdale, has racked up offers from over 40 major programs in the country. Stellato narrowed down his choices to Clemson and Ohio State on March 15th, but what exactly separated Clemson and Ohio State from his other offers?
“I would say relationships was a big thing,” Stellato told TigerNet. “I’m the closest with those two schools, mainly my position coaches. Coach (Tyler) Grisham and I built a really good relationship. And I love Coach Swinney, he’s the best. I think he’s the best coach in the game right now. And I love Coach (Ryan) Day, I love what he did with the program this year at Ohio State. And Coach (Brian) Hartline, I’m really close with him. So, relationships are a huge thing. And the fits at both schools are really good. At the receiver position at Clemson, I feel like I can come in early and fill a need at the Y position. And Ohio State, I know they’re loaded at the position, but I love what Coach Hartline is doing over there.”
Tyler Grisham was hired as the new wide receivers coach at Clemson after Jeff Scott accepted the head coaching positon at USF. Stellato built a good relationship with both Scott and Grisham on visits to Clemson, and has continued to stay in touch and feel the love from Coach Grisham.
“I’ve been to Clemson twice,” he said. “The first time Coach Scott was there and that was for the Wake Forest game. He was the one who extended the offer to me first. I liked him a lot. When he took the USF job, Coach Grisham text me immediately. Coach Grisham was with me a lot on the first visit, so that’s when the relationship started building. Coach Grisham reached out to me and told me I was his guy and I was a priority. When he did that, it really showed love because he literally reached out right when he got the job. I really appreciated that. And the last visit for Junior Day, I spent a lot of time with him. He broke down some things for me and it really boosted my point of view on the situation with Clemson.”
During the visit for Junior Day this year, Stellato had a chance to see Coach Grisham coaching his position group. What did he take away from seeing Coach Grisham on the field with the players?
“Sometimes he’ll send some clips of him coaching up the receivers in one-on-ones,” he said. “And sometimes I’ll send him some clips of me and let him coach me up. I got to watch a little bit of spring practice and it really looked like he knows what he’s talking about and seems like the players really respect him.”
Coach Grisham and Coach Hartline, the receivers coach at Ohio State, both carry NFL experience. Was the NFL experience in his position coaches a factor for Stellato when deciding on his future college?
“I wouldn’t say it’s a factor but it’s definitely a plus,” he said. “That’s been a goal for me since I was a kid, to get to the NFL. That’s where I’m striving to be and where I expect to be. They know what it takes and know the work I need to put in to get to that level.”
What kind of guy can Clemson expect on the field if Stellato commits?
“I’m super hungry,” he said. “I don’t back down from anyone, I don’t care how many stars you have or what your name is. I’m going to give it 100 percent every play. On run plays, I’m going to block. They’re going to get a guy that is committed and itching to get better. I know that these two schools would make me better. I just want to learn and play the game. They’re going to get a really hard-working player who isn’t going to back down from anyone. And I’ll play where ever, I’ll go where ever they want me.”
Stellato has been recruited by Clemson to come in and play the Y position, which is the slot receiver position. What makes Stellato such a highly recruited player and a perfect fit for the Y position at Clemson?
“This year in high school was my first year playing slot,” he said. “I’ve been an outside guy, playing the Z and X position. I took a big leap in my speed from my sophomore to my junior season. I think my strong suits are my speed and running routes in the middle of the field. I’ve got really strong hands too. I don’t catch anything with my body. I hate letting the ball get to my body. I would say strong hands and speed are definitely my strong suits.”
Dabo Swinney and Ryan Day have led their programs to an elite status in college football. Stellato has had the chance to build a relationship with both coaches and gives high praise to both coaches.
“Coach Swinney is really down to earth and really outgoing,” he said. “He looks like he loves what he’s doing and having a lot of fun out there coaching the guys. I love that Coach Swinney was a receiver so if I go to Clemson, he would be around me a lot. Coach Day is a really good offensive-minded coach, and I love that. I want to go where the offense is at the top in the nation. I’m from Massachusetts originally and Coach Day is too so we have that in common. He’s a really good guy and a really good person. I got to know both coaches really well, and both coaches are great.”
Since narrowing down his decision to the final two, Stellato has done a lot of thinking about the best place for him. What does the perfect school look like to Stellato, and when will he know when it’s time to commit?
“It’s kind of tough,” he said. “They are two different schools. One is in the city in Columbus, and one is a college town in Clemson. The atmosphere is different. The schools are a little different but I feel the programs are pretty similar. Where ever I feel like I’m the most at home. I love both places, and I’m really torn right now. Each and every day I’m looking at different things. Summertime was always the aiming point for committing. I’m still aiming for summer, but it may extend out a little further. Probably summertime or sometime in August or September. I’m still deciding on officials and what I may do with that. I wanted to go into my senior season committed and focus on my last year of high school football. I have got to be 1000 percent sure when I commit. I don’t want to do the whole backing out and de-committing thing. Whenever that time is, I’ll know. I saw everything I needed to see from Clemson on that last visit to Clemson for Junior Day. I might make another trip to Ohio State.”
Stellato has an official laser time of 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, coming at The Opening last year. At 6-1, Stellato plays much bigger because of his ability to high point the ball and utilize his long arms and strong hands. Currently listed as a 4-star by 247 Sports, Stellato is ranked as the 101st best player in the country and the No. 13 wide receiver in the country.