Seneca (S.C.) junior prospect Braden Galloway made the short eight-mile trip to Clemson’s campus for an unofficial visit on Wednesday. He arrived with his head coach in the afternoon, took a tour of the campus and facilities, and met Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and tight ends coach Danny Pearman for the first time before attending the Tigers’ practice later in the day.
He didn’t expect what happened next.
After practice ended at around 6:30 p.m., Swinney called for Galloway and introduced him to former Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett. The two had a conversation as Galloway’s coach, Hal Capps, spoke with Swinney.
What took place thereafter caught Galloway off guard.
“Then (Swinney) called me over there and he was like Braden, we’re just going to put it like this. We’re going to offer you a full-ride scholarship to Clemson University,” Galloway told The Clemson Insider.
“When I heard it, I just had to like think about it again because I was like that really just happened. It was crazy.”
Galloway, a two-sport star at Seneca High School, played his first season of football as a junior in 2016 and broke onto the scene, recording 50 catches for more than 800 yards and nine touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 218-pounder excelled on the basketball court, as well, scoring region player of the year honors after averaging 20.7 points per game.
Clemson views Galloway in the mold of Leggett, who finished his career last season as one of the school’s most decorated tight ends.
“They said the only difference between me and Jordan Leggett was that I was bigger and I was taller and I weighed more than he did before he came into Clemson,” Galloway said. “They said he was like 6-5, 205 or something like that, and then he had to add the weight on. They felt that in a positive way.
“And they said I would be able to stretch the field because he said right now they don’t have that Jordan Leggett-type guy this year. He liked my background, that I’ve been playing basketball my whole life, so they like my ball skills and things like that.”
During Galloway’s conversation with Leggett, who is expected to be selected in this month’s NFL Draft, the latter offered words of wisdom to the young recruit.
“He was basically telling me to always work hard because he said they used to call him ‘Lazy Leggett’ his first couple of years in school,” Galloway said. “He was like just keep working hard, and that’s when he said he started seeing his best results, the game against Florida State and the game against Alabama, things like that. He was like that all comes from hard work. He said that just doesn’t randomly happen.”
Galloway also watched the Tigers practice on a couple of occasions last year.
He grew up rooting for Florida State, his dad’s favorite team, but he’s a bigger fan of Swinney after talking with him yesterday.
“Coach Swinney as a person, he’s just easy to talk to,” Galloway said. “He’s probably one of the most known men in college football, but he’s humble. He’s very easy to talk to and very much like a father-figure to probably all of his players.”
As for the program Swinney leads, Galloway likes Clemson’s drive to be the best.
“I like the fact that they’re never content,” he said. “They just won a national championship. It’s the best you can do in college football, and the fact that they still continue to work and continue to get better — they always expect the best, and that’s not something every college can say.”
Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Appalachian State and Wofford are showing significant interest as well.
Galloway earned his first offer from N.C. State during a visit in Raleigh last month.
“To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting that one either,” he said. “I was just going up there for a visit, but it always feels good to get the first one out the way.”
Galloway will visit Clemson again for its spring game on Saturday. He is scheduled to visit Wofford later this month and might make it to a few schools in May.
As big as the offer from Clemson is for the player in the school’s backyard, Galloway isn’t in any rush to render a commitment decision. He’s going to pick a school when the timing feels right.
“I’m going to be looking for a good education because football’s not going to last forever,” he said. “It’s about football because that’s what they’re paying me to go to college for, but it’s more than football. Life’s more than football, so it’s where I can see myself, where I’m still focused strictly on football, but where I still am able to have a life and be able to do things that a college student would be to do.
“But yeah, it’s a very exciting process.”