Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian four-star defensive back Kyler McMichael wasn’t expected to commit until later this summer or during his senior season after taking more visits.
But following trips to Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson over the past couple of weeks, McMichael had seen everything he needed to.
McMichael pushed his decision timetable up to this week, and on Friday, he committed to Clemson over finalists Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee.
“He made a final decision earlier this week,” McMichael’s head coach, Tim Hardy, told The Clemson Insider. “It’s sort of been his leader for a little bit, but he finalized the decision at the beginning of this week after much council and thought and prayer and conversations with his parents. He’s really excited about it.”
McMichael made his most recent visit to Clemson on June 10 with his parents and sister. He also visited Clemson for the spring game in April and elite junior day in January after being offered by the Tigers in December.
Clemson’s culture and the genuineness of the program and people overall separated it from other contenders.
“He fell in love with Clemson for a lot of the same reasons that others have as well — the culture, the quality of the people, the positive energy, the defined plan and purpose of what’s going on,” Hardy said. “It’s just an impressive program, and I know Kyler and his family saw that the first time they stepped on campus.
“It’s really a place that they have liked and has been at the top of the list since they first connected with him, and it just sort of continued to strengthen and grow throughout the process. So, they’re really excited about it.”
McMichael was drawn to the sincerity of Dabo Swinney and his coaching staff.
“He senses a genuine relationship with coach Swinney, coach (Brent) Venables, coach (Mike) Reed and coach (Mickey) Conn,” Hardy said. “The thing that’s so impressive is their culture runs from coach Swinney all the way down to the football ops guys to the GAs. So, it’s really genuine. They do a great job.”
In addition to his finalists, McMichael (6-1, 196) had offers from Arizona State, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
As a junior last season, McMichael played on both sides of the ball and was utilized a lot as a running back. He racked up nearly 1,500 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns along with 14 receptions for 214 yards and a score.
Clemson is recruiting the national top-150 prospect as a defensive back who could play safety, cornerback or nickel in its defensive scheme.
“He is an explosive kid, just really powerful from point A to point B,” Hardy said. “It’s special, his ability to break on a ball, stay with somebody, separate. We give him the ball quite a bit on offense. He’s a really explosive kid. He’s real coachable, eager to learn, and he’s an outstanding teammate. He cares about other people. He’s not selfish and he’s engaged with the people around him.”
Dabo Swinney prides his program on recruiting not only great players but great people who fit Clemson’s culture.
McMichael checks those boxes.
“He’s got a good personality, but he’s not trying to draw attention and stuff,” Hardy said. “He’s not a life of the party kind of guy, but he’s well liked by everybody, a positive, glass-half-full kind of kid and very respectful. Everybody on our campus and our team likes him and appreciates him.”