Boulder (Colo.) Fairview defensive end Brayden Wood has been to Clemson a handful of times in the past.
But his latest visit to the school this week may have been the best one yet for the four-star class of 2021 prospect.
“This visit really stood out to me because we got to see all the academic side and what they have to offer there at Clemson. It was really nice,” Wood said. “We got to go inside a lot of the academic support rooms and talk to a lot of academic advisors, which was really nice for me because academics of course is before athletics. So, that was a huge part of that visit.”
Wood (6-3, 255) made the trip to Clemson on Monday with his father. Wood said it was his fourth or fifth time on campus. He had previously visited for the NC State game at Death Valley in October.
“I actually have a brother down there at Furman. He’s a pitcher for their baseball team,” Wood said. “This weekend was their opening weekend against Morehead State, so we got to go down and see him play, which was nice. We had a four-day weekend for school, so on Monday before the flight we went down there and visited.”
Another part of the visit that stood out to Wood — one of the country’s top-rated recruits in his class — was spending substantial time with defensive coordinator Brent Venables and defensive line coach Todd Bates.
Said Wood: “I think this visit was huge for me because I got to sit down with Coach Bates, and we got to talk about what they have to provide at Clemson, kind of what the philosophy is and how they pursue football, how they pursue coaching and what they usually do on a day-to-day basis and how they can turn me into a man and how they can set me up for life in the past 30 to 40 years after football. I got to talk to Coach Venables about life in general. Him and my dad actually have a lot of mutual friends, which is kind of funny. They had a back and forth about them, which was nice.”
A sophomore, Wood has already earned offers from Texas Tech, Syracuse and Colorado State. He cited Colorado, Ohio State, Michigan, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State and Missouri as other schools showing early interest along with Clemson.
According to Wood, a future offer from the Tigers is in the cards.
“Coach Venables really liked how explosive I was off the ball and coach Bates really liked how I use my hands and my film and how I get off of the double-team,” Wood said. “Coach Venables actually said they’re going to offer soon. They don’t know when; as soon as they get the go from Dabo, that’s when they’re going to do it. … But I think coach Bates is going to come out and visit my school in the spring after their spring ball.”
Wood named Stanford, Southern Cal, UCLA and maybe Wake Forest and Duke as some of the schools he is planning to check out this spring.
He is looking to make an early commitment decision.
“It’s either going to be this summer or maybe end of junior year. I want to get this recruiting process over,” he said. “I’m not the biggest fan of waiting until the last signing day. … I want to get it over with.”
Should Clemson extend an offer as he expects, the Tigers would be in strong shape with Wood, who is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 prospect from Colorado, No. 3 weak-side defensive end nationally and No. 34 overall prospect in the 2021 class.
“They would definitely stack up on my list as one of the top,” Wood said of the Tigers. “What really caught my eye is, again, life after football. … Football ends at some time. I want to go to a university that gets me a degree where I can be set up for life, and I think Clemson is a great university for that.
“And when I was at the game against NC State… I think it was close to the fourth quarter, and they were already up 35 points or something like that and the stadium was still full. The fan base they have, it doesn’t get much better. It’s a true football town, which I really love.”
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