BATON ROUGE, La. — University Lab School linebacker Bryton Constantin held Power Five offers from Kansas and Kansas State, when Clemson extended a game-changing offer on Feb. 22.
Following Clemson’s offer, Constantin saw his recruitment explode. Ole Miss and Mississippi State both offered on the same day, and schools such as Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and TCU all followed with offers in the days and weeks thereafter.
“My whole recruitment blew up after that,” Constantin said of the Clemson offer during TCI’s Tour of Champions visit to University High on Thursday. “I had to slow down and kind of just stay to myself and realize that this was happening for a reason, and that I needed to pick the best school for me.”
Constantin knew in his heart that Clemson was the best school for him, and he committed to the Tigers while on campus April 13, a day before the annual Orange & White spring game at Death Valley.
“Right when Clemson offered me, I knew it was a special place,” Constantin said. “Talking to Coach (Brent) Venables and Coach (Dabo) Swinney and the whole staff up there, I knew where my heart was already.”
Constantin, who is now rated as a four-star prospect, appreciates Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables for believing and seeing potential in him at a time when not many other major programs did.
“Whenever Coach Venables did that for me, it just opened up a huge hole in my mind that kind of made me realize that this offer means a lot to me,” Constantin said. “No coach had really recruited me as heavy as he had, so that just shows how much he really wanted me and how much I can mean to their program.”
As a junior in 2017, Constantin recorded 104 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He was named the Class 3A Most Outstanding Defensive Player and earned first-team All-State honors for his efforts as well.
According to Constantin, Venables loves his combination of size, athleticism and intelligence on the field.
“In Coach Venables’ words, I’m really smart, on-the-field smart,” Constantin said. “So, I don’t really look like a linebacker. A lot of people say I look like a wide receiever or something like that, but I definitely bring the length and the speed and just the ability to move side to side and get to the ball whenever.”
Constantin is ranked as high as the No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 92 overall prospect in the 2019 class per Rivals.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder will see a dream come true when he plays in the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game, which will take place on Jan. 3 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
“That’s probably one of my biggest dreams as a high schooler was playing in the Under Armour All-American Game, besides going to college,” Constantin said. “So, playing in the Under-Armour All-American Game is going to mean a ton to me. This means a lot to me because I’ve grinded out in every camp I’ve been to and everything like that, so it definitely means a lot.”
Constantin became the first linebacker commitment and fifth total commit in Clemson’s 2019 class when he committed in April.
Since then, he has seen 19 other players jump on board with the Tigers, including four other linebackers: Malvern (Pa.) Prep’s Keith Maguire, Swansea (S.C.)’s Greg Williams, Birmingham (Ala.) Jackson-Olin’s LaVonta Bentley and Nashville (Tenn.) C.P.A.’s Kane Patterson.
“Our linebacker group coming in, I think we’re pretty solid,” Constantin said. “A lot of people overlooked us before we even got the offer — a couple of us were three-stars or whatever, but nobody really cares about rankings. So I think we’re actually going to be really good. A lot of people are going to doubt us and a lot of people are going to overlook us, but I feel like we’re going to be really good.”