Tigers showing interest in prospect from Lawrence's former high school
In 2016, Clemson signed a defensive tackle from Wake Forest (N.C.) High School named Dexter Lawrence, who has done nothing but produce since he began playing for the Tigers.
Two years later, Clemson is showing significant interest in another star defensive tackle from Wake Forest High, class of 2019 prospect Jaden McKenzie.
Wake Forest was the first college to offer McKenzie a scholarship last October. Since then, the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder has picked up offers from North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Boston College, Duke and Virginia, while Virginia Tech and NC State have expressed interest as well.
Clemson defensive line coach Todd Bates has communicated with McKenzie, who hopes to visit Clemson for its next junior day on March 3.
“I’ve talked with coach Bates,” McKenzie told TCI. “If I’m able to make it to Clemson’s junior day on the 3rd then I’m going.”
McKenzie was also invited to attend Clemson’s game against The Citadel last November. He made the trip and was wowed by what the Tigers have to offer.
“It was amazing,” he said. “Everything about that place is great.”
What stands out to him the most about Clemson?
“The game-day atmosphere for sure,” McKenzie said. “And the program is just amazing.”
McKenzie cited North Carolina and Wake Forest as a couple of his favorites right now, though it is early in his recruiting process and more offers will almost certainly come as his recruitment continues to gain steam.
What would it mean to McKenzie to receive an offer from Clemson and have the opportunity to follow in Lawrence’s footsteps as a Tiger?
“It would mean a whole lot especially having a powerhouse program like Clemson offering me,” he said. “As far as recruitment, they would be one of my top choices for sure.”
McKenzie shined as a junior last season, helping lead Wake Forest to its second straight state championship with 97 tackles, including 23 for loss and nine sacks. He also logged 11 quarterback hurries and a pair of pass deflections.