At 6-foot-6, 230-plus pounds, four-star tight end Jaelyn Lay is the largest commitment in Clemson’s 2019 recruiting class. The Riverdale (Ga.) prospect isn’t hard to spot on the football field.
With his frame, catch radius and athleticism, Lay will give the Tigers a big-bodied target who can create mismatches and catch the ball over smaller defenders.
Clemson’s coaches hope he will develop into a go-to tight end in the future.
“They say I’m very athletic, so I can make an impact in the passing game,” Lay told The Clemson Insider recently. “Especially with Trevor Lawrence coming in.”
Clemson has a wealth of talent at the quarterback position, and more talent is on the way with four-star quarterback Taisun Phommachanh committed to the 2019 class.
But Lay is especially excited about Lawrence, who will be a sophomore when Lay steps on campus next year.
Lay took in one of Clemson’s spring practices on March 3, the day he committed to Clemson, and got a good look at Lawrence in action.
“The day I committed, I was at the practice, and he made some good throws that you wouldn’t think would be completed,” Lay said. “So, that made me excited.”
“He’s very cool,” Lay added. “He’s calm and collected.”
Lay picked up an offer from Clemson during his first visit to campus for the Tigers’ elite junior day in January. His recruitment took off following Clemson’s offer as he collected more than a dozen offers thereafter, including ones from Georgia, Miami, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Maryland, Indiana, Iowa State and Oregon State.
A couple of other programs have continued to try to recruit Lay, but he is All In with the Tigers.
What separates Clemson from other schools for Lay?
“The coaches and player relationship,” he said. “Dabo Swinney, he’s a very good coach, and the way he interacts with his players is good.”
Lay said he continues to communicate with Clemson’s coaching staff on a weekly basis.
He is also building a strong relationship with his fellow commits in the 2019 class.
“It’s good,” Lay said. “I’m talking to all the other commits. We’re just getting to know each other.”
Lay became the third commit in the 2019 class when he committed in March. Since then, he has seen the Tigers add eight more commitments, and he’s looking forward to getting on the field with them.
“They’ll have a big impact on the team,” Lay said, “and I will be more than glad to play with them.”
Lay hopes to visit Clemson again this summer and plans to return in the fall.
ESPN rates Lay as a four-star prospect and the No. 4 player at his position in the 2019 class.