After receiving an offer from Clemson last month, four-star linebacker Derek Boykins made his first visit to Clemson last week.
The Concord (N.C.) Central Cabarrus recruit attended the Tigers’ spring practice on Wednesday with his mother and younger brother.
“It was nice being at Clemson,” Boykins told The Clemson Insider. “Seeing them play on TV all the time, it was just a blessing to be there.”
Boykins (6-2, 220) also sat in on the linebackers meeting that day as well as toured the campus and football operations facility.
“Everybody has a big weight room, but they have the biggest over there,” he said. “So, that was nice. Watching practice, seeing how coach (Brent) Venables interacted with the linebackers, that was nice. It was a little taste of what I would be into if I decide to go to Clemson.”
Boykins spent most of his time on campus with Venables.
“That’s a good dude, man,” Boykins said. “He’s in it. Like you can tell that he loves football, and that’s the type of coach I want to play for.”
Boykins also gmet with head coach Dabo Swinney in his office.
“We were just talking about all the visits I went on so far,” Boykins said, “and he told me to keep visiting (schools) so I can compare and try to go with what best fits me.”
North Carolina was first to offer Boykins in February. Since then, he has added power conference offers from North Carolina, NC State, Duke, Louisville, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Texas A&M and Wake Forest.
Boykins admitted his allegiances laid with one school growing up, but said his childhood fandom won’t be a major factor in his decision.
“I grew up a Gamecock fan,” said Boykins, a native of Beaufort, S.C. “It still plays a little bit of a part into it, but I’ve just got to find the best place for me.”
Right now, Boykins has a silent top three in terms of his favorite schools.
“Honestly, I already have a top three,” he said. “I’m not going to say who they are, but I know who they are.”
Boykins did, however, confirm that Clemson is one of his top three.
“A lot of people can say yeah, because they’ve been winning,” Boykins said of why Clemson is among his top choices. “But it’s more than that. It’s good football, and it’s not far from the crib (home).
“But watching Clemson, they know what to do. Coach Swinney, he’s real high on developing you as a man more than just football.”
Boykins said he could make a decision by the start of his senior season.
“I’m just looking for a place that I can call home, a good tradition,” he said.
Boykins visited North Carolina and Tennessee last week as well. He is planning to visit NC State soon and wants to check out all of the schools that have offered him at least once.
After a standout junior season in 2017, Boykins was named Central Cabarrus’s Defensive Skill Player of the Year.