MIAMI — Clemson commitment Frank Ladson‘s senior season couldn’t have started much better.
On his first play from scrimmage, the five-star wide receiver from South Dade High School ran down the field and hauled in a catch of over 50 yards.
A few plays later, Ladson capped off the opening drive with a touchdown reception that put his team up 7-0, and they would never look back in a 14-6 victory over Coral Gables High School at Tropical Park in Miami.
The Clemson Insider was on hand for the game as part of our Tour of Champions and caught up with Ladson after.
“Me being a senior, this is my last first game,” Ladson said. “We talked about it all week, about me getting the first big play. We knew what type of defense they were going to run. We knew the middle of the field was going to be wide open.”
Ladson (6-4, 170) later returned a kickoff 37 yards and also recorded a 43-yard reception. He finished the game with three catches on three targets for around 100 yards receiving despite being double-teamed often throughout the night.
“That’s just how it goes when you’re a top receiver,” said Ladson, who is ranked as the No. 5 receiver nationally according to the TCI Composite rankings. “You’re going to have to take those double teams and then other guys have to do their part, so my job will come a lot easier.”
There were several Miami players on the sideline during the game, and a large presence of Miami fans in the stands.
The University of Miami is located just 30 minutes away from South Dade High School, and Ladson was heavily recruited by the Hurricanes. However, even with Mark Richt’s program on the rise, he decided to turn down the Canes in favor of Clemson.
“It was hard,” said Ladson, who committed to Clemson over Miami and 30 other offers in April. “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.”
Clemson co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach Jeff Scott made Ladson a priority target and played a key role in helping the Tigers land him.
“We have a great relationship,” Ladson said. “That’s my receivers coach. I’m closest to him, and he’s just a really, really good guy.”
As a junior last season, Ladson tallied 25 catches for 554 yards and seven touchdowns. He is off to a hot start in his final season of high school football and hopes to finish strong before he turns his attention to making an impact at Clemson.
“Number one, try to get as much playing time as I can, work my way up to get on the field,” Ladson said, looking ahead to his goals for his freshman year as a Tiger. “And then hopefully I can be a freshman All-American or something or do something big and really have a great impact on offense.”
Ladson signed his Financial Aid Agreement with Clemson earlier this month and is on track to be a mid-year enrollee. He will arrive on campus in January and can’t wait to join Wide Receiver U.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I can’t wait ’til January.”
Ladson is planning to officially visit Clemson for its game against Duke in November. He is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 4 prospect in Florida, No. 4 wide receiver and No. 27 overall prospect in the class of 2019.