MIAMI — Clemson commitment Frank Ladson scored a touchdown on the first series of his senior season Friday night, providing all of the offense South Dade High School would need in its eventual 14-6, season-opening victory over Coral Gables at Tropical Field.
Ladson looked like the five-star wide receiver that he is, hauling in a catch of over 50 yards on the game’s first play from scrimmage before going up to grab a touchdown pass to cap off the opening drive.
The Clemson Insider was in attendance at the game as part of our Tour of Champions and spoke with South Dade head coach Nathaniel Hudson about Ladson’s standout performance.
“It was big time,” Hudson said. “This is what we expect. He’s the number one receiver in the country high school wise. We don’t settle for nothing less. We put a lot of pressure on him to make those kind of plays, and I think he embraces it. We’re glad that he’s on our side.”
Later in the game, Ladson raced down the field past his defender and recorded a 43-yard reception near the sideline. The 6-foot-4, 170-pound wideout caught the ball all three times he was targeted in the contest, finishing with around 100 receiving yards and the touchdown.
Hudson knows it’s a luxury — almost video-game esque — to have a weapon like Ladson on offense that he can depend on to make plays.
“At times it just feels like a cheat code,” Hudson said. “We know his capabilities. But the one thing I love about this kid is he’s humble. He works hard, and you can see that it pays off.”
Ladson is a big-time recruit who is regarded as one of the top prospects in the country, but doesn’t have a big ego according to Hudson.
“He’s humble as can be,” Hudson said. “What you saw there — you notice you didn’t see any celebrations. He expects a lot of himself. He puts a lot of demands on his body to make those plays and come through for the team. He’s an excellent team guy, and he’s special.”
Ladson committed to Clemson in April over 30 other offers, including one from Miami, which is located just 30 minutes away from his high school.
Hudson got to know Dabo Swinney and Jeff Scott through Ladson’s recruitment and had high praise for the pair of Clemson coaches.
“I got an opportunity to meet Dabo Swinney,” Hudson said. “He talked about a lot of things that I was very intrigued with. We have some things in common that I like.
“And Jeff Scott, to me, he’s special. He makes you feel like at home, and I understand why Frank is taking his talents over there to Clemson.”
Ladson signed his Financial Aid Agreement with Clemson earlier this month and is on track to enroll early in January.
Hudson will miss Ladson once he moves on but looks forward to seeing what he does at the next level.
“They’re going to get a tremendous athlete,” Hudson said. “Obviously he’s going to bring a lot to the table. He has top-end speed, stretches the field very well, and he’s almost a complete package. We know some things that he wants to work on, so we’re never going to say that he’s a complete guy. But he builds for that and keeps working hard, and that’s what we like.”