Blake Vinson’s strong suit as an offensive lineman is his aggression, and it is one of the salient traits of the 2017 Clemson commitment that could help expedite his progression from high school to early enrollee next spring to what he hopes will be early playing time during the ensuing fall.
The four-star from Citra (Fla.) North Marion is comfortable playing all five spots up front, and while he believes the coaching staff will want him to line up at either left or right tackle, Vinson told The Clemson Insider he simply desires to help the Tigers in any capacity as soon as he can after stepping on campus.
“I just really want to find anywhere where I can impact the program as quickly as possible,” Vinson said. “Coach Caldwell really likes me because I’m aggressive and mean on the field, so I hope to bring even more attitude to the offensive line.”
During his conversation with TCI, Vinson hit on a range of subjects including his spring practice, his relationship with the other offensive linemen in Clemson’s 2017 class and his plans for the summer. The following is an edited transcript of the interview:
How has spring practice been?
Vinson: “Everything’s going pretty good. We’re playing a jamboree this Thursday. We play two teams, each for a quarter, and a bunch of teams in the county participate in it. Other than that, I’m just trying to lift weights and keep everything rolling.”
Have any Clemson coaches dropped by to watch you recently?
Vinson: “Coach Scott came by and saw me at the beginning of spring football, and then Coach Caldwell came by on Friday.”
What have they told you about your future role at Clemson?
Vinson: “They’ve kept the message the same. I can play all five positions, but they say they’d rather me stay at tackle because that’s what they’re kind of short on right now. Whether that will be right or left, I’m not sure, but I can play both.”
How is your relationship with the other offensive linemen in your class, Matt Bockhorst and Noah DeHond?
Vinson: “We’ve developed a good relationship so far. I know them pretty well now. We talk every single day through Snapchat or the group text (for the 2017 commits), and we kind of joke around, talk about football and talk about different things that are going on. I’ve gotten to know those guys pretty well. They’re both really good football players and really good guys.”
What do you feel you will bring to the table at Clemson?
Vinson: “Definitely, I’d say my aggression on the field and finishing blocks. When you step on the field, you have to have an attitude that you’re going to dominate the other player every snap of the game, and that’s something I try to do. Also, my athleticism and versatility — I feel like my versatility is something that can be valuable for an offensive lineman, too.”
Are there any current or former Clemson players, or NFL players, you look up to?
Vinson: “Since I’ve committed, I really just started studying the guys that are there. I really don’t model myself after anybody — I just try to do the best that I can do. I do watch a lot of NFL players and their technique and stuff, but I just try to go out there and perform to the best of my ability.”
What are you anticipating the most about your arrival to Clemson?
Vinson: “I’m really excited to get there and learn from the guys who have been there a couple of years, and get to know all those guys. And they’re building that new facility, too, so I’m coming in at a really good time. The program is definitely moving in a positive direction and will continue to as it has since Coach Swinney’s been there, so I’m really excited to catch that in the heat of everything moving forward. Hopefully I can help the team as fast as possible.”
What are your plans for the summer?
Vinson: “This summer, I’m going to the Clemson camp (Dabo Swinney Football Camp) from June 14-16, and then I’m invited to The Opening (Finals in Beaverton, Ore.), which is July 7-10. And that’s pretty much all I have planned so far.”
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