WASHINGTON, D.C. — Clemson has added another big-time pledge to its ultra-talented 2018 recruiting class.
Covington (Ga.) Newton four-star defensive tackle Darnell Jefferies announced his commitment to Clemson on Monday evening.
He chose the Tigers over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and South Carolina among others.
“It feels great to be a Tiger,” Jefferies told The Clemson Insider. “It was a great opportunity for me to get recruited by the coaches and the players. But they really weren’t recruiting me. They were just talking to me person-to-person and man-to-man, trying to see how I was doing in life.”
Clemson offered Jefferies during its junior day on March 4, his first visit to the school. He returned to Clemson three times over the next five weeks, including on April 8 for the Orange & White spring game.
The several trips allowed Jefferies to build a strong relationship with Clemson’s staff, including defensive line coach Todd Bates, as well as the current players and commits.
“Coach Bates is a great guy,” Jefferies said. “He keeps you motivated.”
Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett four-star defensive end Justin Mascoll is one commit who played a major role in helping Clemson land Jefferies.
The two Georgia natives have known each other for a while. They played AAU basketball and youth football together, and have remained friends since.
“My relationship with Justin was everyday. We talked every day to see how each other were doing,” Jefferies said. “He wasn’t trying to force anything. He was just saying to go where is right for you and go where your heart tells you to go and not where somebody else tells you to go.”
Jefferies (6-4, 270) said defensive coordinator Brent Venables believes he is capable of playing anywhere along the defensive line at the next level.
“He sees me fitting in at D-end and D-tackle,” Jefferies said, “because I have the athletic ability to run after the quarterback.”
Jefferies is glad to have his decision behind him so he can focus on his senior season, and certainly happy to call himself a Clemson commit.
“It feels good to be in a place that wants you just for you and not for just your talents,” Jefferies said. “It feels great to be a Clemson Tiger.”
Jefferies will be at Clemson for the full three-day, second session of the Dabo Swinney Camp this week.
After his commitment, Clemson’s 2018 class currently ranks ninth nationally by Rivals.