Jacob Lacey, one of the top defensive tackles in the class of 2019, already has a dozen scholarship offers and is accustomed to getting attention from college football programs and coaches.
A prospect of Lacey’s caliber receiving a visit from a Division I coach is not unusual, especially during the spring evaluation period. Still, getting a visit from Clemson’s Todd Bates this week was a unique development for him.
Bates stopped by South Warren High in Bowling Green, Ky., on Wednesday to see the four-star lineman. The two weren’t allowed to talk because of NCAA regulations, but that didn’t dull the excitement on Lacey’s end.
“Man, the D-line coach of the national champions came to me, knowing he couldn’t even talk to me,” Lacey told The Clemson Insider. “That’s very, very special and humbling. I’m a very blessed kid.”
Bates conveyed a message to Lacey through his coach and father.
“He spoke with (my) coach and my dad stating he came specifically to see me and flew to N.C., but that he wants me to get to know him more and that’s what (summer football) camp is about,” Lacey said. “He said he knows I’ve got some heavyweight offers but he wants me to get to know him and him me before we pull the trigger.”
Lacey (6-2, 300) lists offers from Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. He is garnering interest from other schools such as Duke, Florida State and Ohio State.
Lacey attended Clemson’s junior day in March and also visited for the Louisville game last October. He plans to return for the Dabo Swinney Camp this summer in hopes of furthering his relationship with Bates and better positioning himself to land a much-wanted offer from the Tigers.
Bates made another good impression on Lacey this week and has a big fan in him.
“His focus is on the mental aspects of football,” Lacey said. “He always has a motivational nugget for me when we talk. He’s awesome.”
Along with Clemson, Lacey has visited Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Notre Dame and Tennessee so far this year.
He is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 7 defensive tackle and No. 124 overall prospect in the 2019 class.