Like everyone that saw Cartersville (Ga.) five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence throw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns in a victory over Bartram Trail (St. Johns, Fla.) on national TV Saturday night, Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy five-star offensive guard Jamaree Salyer was impressed.
“You know I did,” Salyer said on Monday during an exclusive interview with The Clemson Insider at Pace Academy when asked if he watched Lawrence play. “Kid’s raw, man. He put a beatin’ on them Florida boys. Florida boys come up and play Georgia ball, it’s tough, but there’s nothing I can say about him that you guys or any other reporter hasn’t said about him.”
The Clemson commitment has a big fan in Salyer, one of Clemson’s priority targets in the 2018 class.
Lawrence and Salyer, two Georgia natives, have known each other for quite some time and built a strong relationship over the years.
“I’ve know him since seventh or eighth grade,” Salyer said. “He played on my national championship team before, so I’ve seen him, played with him and hopefully I’ll never have to play against him. But he’s a heck of a ball player.”
Lawrence, as well as Clemson five-star commit Xavier Thomas, are working to help the Tigers recruit Salyer.
They want him to be a part of what has the potential to be a historically good class for Clemson, but at the same time, they’re not putting too much pressure on him.
“It’s fun,” Salyer said. “Both of those guys are funny, so they don’t put too much overbearing pressure. They give me a chance to do my recruiting just like they had a chance to do it, and I respect them for that, I thank them for that.
“Both of those guys are obviously ballers. One and two players in the country, or two and three, whatever they have them ranked at. But obviously they’re ballers. You’ve seen them play, I’ve seen them play, so it would be exciting to play with them.”
With the college football season here, Salyer is starting to set up official visits for this fall and mentioned a couple that he will make.
Salyer said he will take an official to Notre Dame for its game versus Georgia on Sept. 9, and that Clemson will get an official, as well.
Clemson most recently hosted Salyer for a day of the Dabo Swinney Camp in June. He also visited Clemson to watch a spring practice in March after attending the Tigers’ elite junior day in January.
“I know for a fact I’m taking one to Notre Dame, against Georgia actually,” Salyer said. “It’s next week, and I’m going up to South Bend to see that game. I feel like that’ll be a good early season test for both teams. I want to take one to Clemson, as well. I just haven’t decided which game I want to do it, so I’ve got to talk to the coaches.”
Salyer is eyeing the early signing period as his decision date.
“Early signing day, Dec. (20),” Salyer said. “That’ll be the day.”
With that day less than four months away, the nation’s top player at his position has a lot to think about.
His recruitment will heat up even more down the stretch, and he knows he will have to make some tough decisions.
“When you get down to the moments where you’re narrowing down schools, it gets hard to tell some schools no because you’ve built relationships with so many coaches, and sometimes you end up liking a lot of them,” Salyer said. “It’s just like OK, I like this coach, but the school’s not for me. If he was at a different school maybe I’d go there. It’s that type of thing.”
The recruiting process tends to become a grind in the late stages for big-time prospects like Salyer, who grow tired of the constant attention from schools, media and fans alike.
However, while Salyer will be glad to put it all behind him on signing day, he understands he’s fortunate to be in his position.
“I’m just glad that I’m being recruited,” he said. “Some guys sit at home and cry and want to be recruited, so I’m glad I’m being recruited. I want to say it’s pressure on me, but I just make the best of it and have fun with it.”
When Salyer chooses the school he will go to, what will be the most important factors?
“That I’m happy,” he said. “That I’m comfortable, that I’m happy, my family’s happy, and that I get my degree.”
Salyer (6-3, 340) is ranked by the major recruiting services as a consensus top-two offensive guard nationally and top-30 prospect regardless of position in his class.