Lake Forest (Ill.) four-star defensive lineman Rylie Mills received his latest offer from Clemson on Tuesday.
Mills (6-5, 265) is ranked as one of the top 10 strong-side defensive ends in the country for the class of 2020.
“It was awesome,” Mills said of getting the offer. “They’re definitely a team that competes for the championship. They won the national championship two years ago, they were just in the playoff, so it means a lot that a school that plays at that high level wants me to be a part of their team.”
The Tigers join schools such as Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Wisconsin and around a dozen others on Mills’ offer sheet.
Defensive tackles coach Todd Bates conveyed Clemson’s offer during a phone conversation.
“Coach Bates was telling me how high they hold their academics. That’s definitely something that’s on my list for what to look for in a school,” Mills said. “That’s something that’s big for me. He was telling me that almost 98 percent of their athletes graduate, which is really good to hear.
“Also, just the way they play football. They see me as a hybrid defensive end — someone that can play as an edge-rusher and then also move in and play tackle, a three-technique on the guard. They see me moving all around the field and being versatile. So, those are things that stuck out for me.”
Tuesday marked the first time Mills has communicated with Clemson, though Bates has been in contact with his head high school coach for awhile.
Mills says he is looking to visit Clemson next offseason after adding the offer.
“It might be tough to get to a game in season just because of the way our schedule is, but I think it’d be awesome to get down sometime either after the season or next summer, around that time,” he said.
The lone visit Mills has set in stone right now is Notre Dame for its season opener against Michigan on Sept. 1.
Mills says he’s begun the process of narrowing down his list of schools and will likely have a top 10 or top 5 during or after his upcoming junior season. However, he’s still a ways away from making his college commitment.
“My family talked about possibly before my senior season, or maybe on the signing day,” Mills said of his decision timeline. “But I think that’s dependent on how I feel towards the school. If I’m really feeling strong that so and so is where I want to go, then I think I’ll probably commit earlier. But if I still need time to decide and have a couple schools I want to take closer looks at, it might take me a little bit longer to make that final choice.”
When that time comes, a few factors will play a major role in his decision.
“I’d say the academics is a high point for me,” he said. “Being able to find a job after college and having a strong alumni network, that’s going to be something that’s big for me. Being able to compete at the highest level because I’m a competitor and I want to be the best every day…. Also competing for a national championship is a big goal for me. So, that’s kind of my list right now for what I’m looking for.”
As a sophomore last season, Mills was credited with 34 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and four sacks.
He is ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Illinois for the 2020 class by ESPN and 247Sports, and ranked as high as the No. 109 overall prospect in the class per ESPN.
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!