Tour of Champions: Rayburn says Swinney's culture 'different than everywhere else'

Tour of Champions: Rayburn says Swinney's culture 'different than everywhere else'

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Tour of Champions: Rayburn says Swinney's culture 'different than everywhere else'

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Hunter Rayburn was a relatively unknown prospect when he transferred from West Florida Tech to Pensacola High School for his senior season.

The move across town paid off, as Rayburn’s recruitment took off upon his arrival to Pensacola.

During the spring evaluation period, the 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive lineman received offers from 20 Power Five schools — including Clemson, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Stanford, Miami, Tennessee and Alabama — as college coaches stopped by his school to see him in person.

“It was crazy. When I came over to Pensacola High School, I had one offer,” Rayburn told The Clemson Insider on Tuesday during our Tour of Champions stop at Pensacola High. “Coach started working with me and getting my technique dialed in, and things just exploded. Louisville came first and then Texas A&M, and then from there it just blew up and I had tons and tons of choices. So, it was super cool.”

Clemson extended an offer to Rayburn in May, and he committed to Dabo Swinney’s program one month later after visiting campus in early June.

“Just the atmosphere,” Rayburn said of why he chose Clemson. “They’re genuine people, and the program is run from the top down. You can tell that what Dabo — his culture that he’s made there — everyone buys into it. It’s just so different than everywhere else you go where you feel like they’re just putting on this front to make you want to come there. They’re just genuine people.”

Rayburn continues to communicate frequently with Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, who plans to use him primarily as an interior lineman at the next level.

A four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 18 offensive guard according to ESPN, Rayburn has played every position along the offensive line in his high school career.

“Mainly an inside guy,” Rayburn said of how Caldwell sees him fitting in. “Center/guard, and then could play tackle if I need to. But he’s going to teach me everything, so that’ll be cool.”

Rayburn is currently Clemson’s lone offensive line commitment in the 2019 class, so he is working to help the staff recruit a couple of O-line targets in Oxford (Ala.) five-star center Clay Webb and Hanahan (S.C.) tackle Cooper Dawson.

“Those are just a couple that they’ve mentioned that they want, so I’ve been trying to stay in touch with them,” Rayburn said. “Clay’s quiet. They’re both really good kids, both really good people. So, those are two big ones.”

Rayburn is All In with Clemson and can’t wait to get on campus next year. He signed his Financial Aid Agreement with Clemson last month and will enroll early in January.

“Everything you see — the success on the field, the success in the classroom, going out and getting jobs afterward — the whole program just sets you up to be so successful later in life,” Rayburn said. “It’s awesome. Everything about Clemson, the coaching staff, the people there — it’s all just a really good atmosphere and they play at the highest level, so I’m excited.”

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