Tampa (Fla.) Plant four-star Will Putnam is a prized recruit in the class of 2019, ranked among the country’s top five offensive guards by multiple major recruiting services.
On Saturday, he formally cut down his list of close to 30 scholarship offers when he announced a top five of Clemson, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia.
“I just felt like I really had it down to those five schools,” Putnam told The Clemson Insider. “I’ve visited all of them. At the end of the day, those are the five schools I really wanted to still talk to and continue the process with.
“I’m really grateful for all the other schools that offered me and took the time out to recruit me, but at the end of the day it came down to these five. I just felt that and I didn’t really feel like there was any need to wait any longer to put it out there, so I did.”
Clemson offered Putnam back in early March, and he made an unofficial visit to campus a week later.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound prospect explained why he put the Tigers in his top five.
“One thing is I’ve still maintained contact with them ever since they offered me,” he said. “I went up there this past spring and I loved it. I loved the visit. I just loved them as people, and obviously they’re a very successful football program. I had a great visit, and I still remember that. So, they definitely made it in the top five because of that.”
Putnam said he has been communicating with Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell and area recruiter Tony Elliott on a near-daily basis.
“I think their message right now is they know that I like them, and they really think I’m a fit for their football program and what they do and how they do things,” Putnam said. “So, I think they’re wanting me not just because of how they think I am as a football player; I think they think that as a person, I’m a really good fit for the culture and building off their morals and what they like in people.”
Putnam wants to visit Clemson again, and this time it would likely be for an official visit.
“I don’t have any officials set up with any school or really any visits planned right now with any school,” he said, “but I definitely would like to get back up to Clemson before I commit.”
Putnam said he would like to take official visits to all five of his favorites before rendering his decision, but didn’t guarantee that he will.
At this time, his commitment timeframe is still wide open.
“I’d definitely like it to be before signing day (in December),” he said. “It’s a pretty big window. I don’t really have it down too much, but I’d definitely like to make it before signing day, really any time before then.”
Whenever he sits down to make that decision, several factors will play a prominent part in his college choice.
“One thing is the relationship with the coaches,” he said. “That’s really important to me, and the culture of the team and how the players are, how they act and how much they like the coaches. Obviously I don’t want to be playing for a really bad losing team… But I’d say those three are the big things for me, and then just having a really good feel for them. Those are all important.”
There’s a chance that Putnam, who is also a standout wrestler with a state championship under his belt, will be an early enrollee.
“I’m still thinking about it,” he said. “I’m thinking of probably early enrolling. I’m still not 100 percent on that. I think I’m going to wait to fully decide that until I commit to a school and talk to the coaches there a little bit more, but I’m definitely looking into it and I think it might be a possibility.”
Putnam went in-depth on his interest in Clemson below, and provided a brief comment on the other schools in his top five as well:
Clemson: “They just seem like incredible people. They seem like really good guys. All the players seem like they got along with each other really well. Obviously they’re a really good football team. They’re obviously going in the right direction. They’ve got a brand-new facility and all that stuff. All the coaches have been there for a while. I think that’s really important. They don’t have too many transfers coming out of the team. I think all that stuff shows really well about the football program. They have a really high graduation rate, so I think all those things show that once guys go and commit and sign to Clemson, Clemson kind of does the same thing back to them — they’re kind of all in with their football players.”
Auburn: “They have a really good offensive line tradition. I really like the offensive line coach there (J.B. Grimes), and they also seem like really great people. And even though it’s a big-time football program, it still feels like a really good family environment.”
Florida: “I really like how close it is to home. That’s definitely really nice, and I’m also really excited to see what Coach (Dan) Mullen and all of them are going to do with Florida this season. I think they have a really big upside.”
Florida State: “For them, I really like their coaches. I really feel like I can click with their coaches and have a really good relationship with them.”
Georgia: “I think they’re one of the best offensive lines in the country right now, and they definitely have one of the better strength programs in the country right now in my opinion. They’re definitely on the upside, even for being in the national championship last year. I think there’s really great things to come from them.”
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