Tigers in the mix for top California prospect
|Sunday, April 5, 2020, 8:01 AM- -|
The pipeline to California has opened up for Clemson in recent recruiting cycles. From Joseph Ngata and DJ Uiagalelei to the recent commitments of Beaux Collins and Korey Foreman, the Tigers have dipped into The Golden State to bring out the stars.
Jaylin Smith received a Clemson offer in February, putting the Tigers in a good position to bring another California kid to the East coast. The 5-11, 180-pound athlete from Bishop Alemany (CA) Mission Hills is currently listed as a 4-star, holding offers from elite programs around the country. TigerNet caught up with Smith about his views on Clemson and his recruitment up to this point.
Smith has been offered as a Hybrid/Athlete for Clemson, meaning he could end up playing numerous positions on the defensive side of the ball. Smith stays in contact with defensive coordinator Brent Venables and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed, giving him the chance to learn more about the Clemson culture.
“I talk to Coach Reed and Coach Venables on a daily basis,” Smith told TigerNet. “They send me encouraging quotes mostly every day. They give me words like motivational Monday and qualities from Coach Swinney, showing the Clemson culture through pictures and coming out with the hardest edits! We have a strong relationship.”
What was it like hearing from the Clemson staff and getting a scholarship offer?
“Huge because Clemson is a prestigious school with a great staff,” he said. “Hearing from them was truly a blessing and I’m grateful for the opportunity the coaches gave me! They have good academics and they produce men before football which is also huge for me!”
Smith has known about Clemson since he was a kid, and having a relationship with the other Clemson players from California has provided the Tigers with an extra set of recruiters. Smith has heard from the St. John Bosco guys, Uiagalelei and Collins, as well as Foreman. What are Smith’s plans on visiting the school that he’s heard so much about?
“The coaches are basing it off when the COVID-19 pandemic is under control and setting a timeframe for an unofficial or maybe an official depending on the timing,” he said. “My recruiting kind of hit a jolt. But I’d say I’m just enjoying the process and keeping my options open to go see different things and hopefully find what fits me.”
Besides seeing Clemson on the biggest stages in college football, Smith has taken notice of other aspects of the Clemson program. What exactly stands out to Smith?
“The brotherhood and the academics,” he said. “Football is a bonus for me. They have everything to look for in a program! Clemson is no doubt a top school for me!”
Smith has been a weapon in high school, playing both sides of the ball for Bishop Alemany. What kind of player is Smith on the field?
“I’m very aggressive and patient if that makes sense,” he said. “I talk a lot on the field and I also bring a lot of energy to the game.”
How will Smith know when it’s time to commit and found the right place for him?
“Good support system and a great staff,” he said. “A school that would provide me a good environment to work around. I will know when it’s time to commit when I feel me and my family would excel and grow closer to my goals.”
With good size and speed, officially being clocked at a 4.56-40 yard dash, Smith has drawn offers from many schools across the country. Although no plans are in concrete, Smith is interested in Clemson, Texas, Alabama, LSU, Penn State, Washington and others. Currently listed as a 4-star and the No. 19 athlete in the nation by 247Sports, Smith finished his junior season with 60 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, 616 all-purpose yards, with six touchdowns.
(Personal note from Jake: Story is dedicated to the greatest man I’ve ever known and the biggest Clemson fan, my grandpa, Robert “Rabbit” Powell. We’ll love and miss you forever.)