One of the most coveted defensive linemen in Georgia has made the initial cut-down in his recruitment.
Covington (Ga.) Newton four-star defensive tackle Darnell Jefferies announced his top 10 schools via social media on Friday evening. As expected, Clemson is featured on the list, along with Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and South Carolina.
“I am blessed and extremely thankful to all the schools that have taken the time to offer me the opportunity to not only play on the next level, but be a huge part of their families,” Jefferies wrote in a Twitter post. “After much prayer and consideration my family and I have decided that going forward we will be concentrating on these ten programs.”
Clemson gave Jefferies one of his two dozen total offers on March 4 during his first visit to the school. He returned to visit Clemson on three more occasions in the next five weeks, most recently attending the Orange & White spring game on April 8.
“It was a real family affair,” Jefferies said of the spring game visit in an interview with TCI after, “which included my parents, my girlfriend of five years, her parents and younger brother, as well as one of my first cousins. We really had a blast.
“I enjoyed it. The energy was amazing, from both the team and the fans.”
On the sidelines before kickoff, Jefferies hung around mostly with Clemson defensive end commit Justin Mascoll. The two have known each other for a while and developed a strong relationship.
“Justin is a beast of a player and I truly have a lot of respect for him and his game,” Jefferies said. “Overall, just the kind of guy he is. We have a really good friendship, we played AAU basketball together when we were younger and we’ve been friends since then.”
Jefferies (6-4, 270), the top defensive tackle on Clemson’s board in the 2018 class, drew separate visits from defensive line coach Todd Bates and defensive coordinator Brent Venables last week during the ongoing spring evaluation period.
Along with the Tigers, he has offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado State, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Mississippi State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
Jefferies, the No. 33 defensive tackle nationally according to 247Sports, plans to make his commitment decision in June.