Best of TCI's Road Trip: Clemson leaving its mark around the Sunshine State

Best of TCI's Road Trip: Clemson leaving its mark around the Sunshine State

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Best of TCI's Road Trip: Clemson leaving its mark around the Sunshine State

The Clemson Insider hit the road hard this week, traveling all over the Sunshine State as part of our Tour of Champions and Blue Chip Road Trip series.

Our first stop was at Pensacola High School on Tuesday to see Clemson offensive line commitment Hunter Rayburn. On Wednesday, we went to IMG Academy in Bradenton to check in on Clemson punter commit Aidan Swanson as well as Clemson running back target Noah Cain. We also saw Florida State defensive line commit and Clemson target Derick Hunter at Dunbar High School in Fort Myers on Wednesday.

On Thursday, we saw a couple of 2020 Clemson targets at St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale) in lineman Marcus Dumervil and linebacker Derek Wingo. Last but not least, we watched Clemson wide receiver commit Frank Ladson and South Dade High School play against Coral Gables High School at Tropical Park in Miami.

It was a busy week for TCI. We recap it all right here with the best of our Tour of Champions and Blue Chip Road Trip:

Rayburn on why he chose Clemson:

“Just the atmosphere. 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.”

Cain on if Clemson still has a shot with him:

“My parents love Clemson, so we’re going to see where things end up. A lot of things can happen until December. My mom, she was really hurt that I didn’t put them in my top 6, and my dad also. But they love Clemson, so we’ll see where things end up.”

Hunter on his relationship with Clemson defensive tackles coach Todd Bates:

“Me and coach Bates have a close relationship. Every time I went up to Clemson… He’s just a genuine dude. That’s one of the coaches that has been honest with me throughout this whole recruiting process. Never pressured me to do anything. Just told me to take my time with everything.

“He’s been there for me since day one, and the talks that we have… I feel like I can talk to him about everything, especially when my grandmother and my grandfather died during the summer. The whole Clemson staff was there for me, he was there for me, and then when his auntie passed, he came straight to me and talked to me about it because I’ve taken a lot of losses in my life and he just wanted to get that knowledge from somebody that has been through that pain before.”

Swanson on his parents’ emotion upon learning of his full scholarship offer from Clemson:

“I actually got it when I was in school. I got the call from coach Pearman, and right away I called my parents. They were out grocery shopping, and they picked up the phone and I told them, and they just started crying.”

Wingo on Clemson being the standard:

“It’s always been a school that I’ve looked up high to, and they’ve always been the standard just like St. Thomas. So, that’s a big thing to look up to, and to have the praise from Coach Venables is something great.”

Dumervil on Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s culture:

“Clemson is a big-time program as you can see. They’re competing on a national level every single year. So, that means he’s doing something right, and that’s the culture I want to be around — a coach that’s doing something right and playing on a big-time program.”

Ladson on committing to Clemson over hometown Miami:

“It was hard. Miami is home, and it’s here. All my family and everybody is here. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to do what’s best for yourself and make the best decision as far as academics and athletics.”

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