Blake Vinson is a winner.
The Clemson offensive tackle commitment from North Marion High School in Citra, Fla., has a 30-6 record (.833 winning percentage) during his high school career.
Vinson is also a winner individually. Among his latest accomplishments is earning an invitation to The Opening finals in Beaverton, Ore. — the nation’s premier high school football event — following his performance at The Opening Charlotte regional in April.
Now, after attending Clemson’s fifth-annual All In Cookout last weekend, Vinson can add another victory to his résumé.
Vinson, along with fellow Clemson commit Noah DeHond and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, is a donut-eating champion.
“The way the contest worked, it was teams and wasn’t really how many we could eat,” Vinson said in an interview with The Clemson Insider. “They had four donuts and a glass of milk, and they had four places up. So basically it was 16 donuts overall and four glasses of milk, and each guy had to eat four donuts and drink the milk, and then the next guy had to do it. It was a like a relay race almost, and we won.”
Before the donut-eating contest, Vinson and the other attendees of the cookout took a tour of the new football complex, then settled in at the Madren Center for a night of food and games, including a Family Feud version of football trivia and a lip-syncing battle.
Caldwell stole the show during the lip-syncing portion of the evening, when he danced to the song “Low” by Flo Rida.
As you can imagine, Vinson said it was quite a sight.
“It was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Vinson said.
How does Vinson rate Caldwell’s moves?
“If I had to go one out of 10, he definitely got an 11 with those,” Vinson said. “He was ‘twerking’ and everything.”
During the down time, Vinson had the opportunity to do a little recruiting at the cookout and talk to some of the uncommitted guys there.
Vinson said he chatted with four-star defensive end Jordan Williams the most.
“We talked about recruiting overall, the schools he’s looking at,” Vinson said. “He was kind of saying what he is looking for in schools. He thinks Clemson could be a good fit for him, but obviously his recruitment is still open, so I think he thinks all the schools could be a good fit for him. It’s just whatever God has planned for him.”
Personally, Vinson said he really enjoyed his experience at the cookout.
“I’d say my favorite parts were coach Caldwell dancing and getting to tour the new facility,” Vinson said. “We walked through and they told us what every room is going to be. They didn’t have drywall up yet, but the skeleton was built of it. It’s going to be a sweet facility, the nicest in the country.”
As for the rest of his summer, Vinson has been busy rehabbing from surgery on a torn labrum injury he suffered during spring practice.
Vinson isn’t optimistic he will be ready to return to the field this season.
“Unfortunately, the doctor said it’s going to be six months no contact, so I most likely will not be able to play this season,” Vinson said. “I’m hoping I still can, but it’s not looking too good for that. So, I’m just trying to be a leader on my team and just trying to rehab my shoulder to the best of my abilities.”
Vinson did say, though, he is starting to regain more mobility in his shoulder.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” Vinson said. “I’m starting to be able to move around more.”
Though he likely won’t be able to contribute in pads, Vinson knows he can still contribute to his team in other capacities.
“It gives me the chance to look at things from a more analytical standpoint as far as coaching and seeing what the coaches are saying and stuff like that,” Vinson said. “So, I think it’s going to help me in the long run and make me a better player. I’m excited to help the team from the sidelines this year.”
Vinson plans to enroll early at Clemson in January. By then, he will be healthy and raring to go.
“Right now I’m just really ready to get back lifting weights again,” Vinson said, “so I can start getting in shape and start getting my body ready to get there. I think it gives us an advantage when we enroll early, especially with my position because it gets me in the weight room six months before the other guys. It gets you jump-started on how everything is going to work, so then coming into the fall, instead of being worried about the game and the classes, you’re going to be worried about where you do your laundry and stuff like that. I think it gets all that stuff taken care of in the very beginning.”