Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood offensive lineman Graham Barton has seen his recruiting stock take off over the past couple of months as he has collected a dozen major scholarship offers.
Clemson has started to show interest of late, and on Saturday, the class of 2020 prospect made a visit to campus for the program’s junior day.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound prospect was highly impressed by what he described as a breathtaking experience in Tigertown.
“Let’s just say what’s going on down there is special,” Barton said when asked how he enjoyed the visit. “It’s a beautiful place, filled with caring, genuine people. Coach Swinney has developed an amazing culture. It really takes your breath away.”
The best part of the visit for Barton was listening to Swinney deliver an hour-and-a-half-long speech to the recruits on hand for the junior day.
“He basically went over the attitude of the whole program and it showed why they’ve been so successful over the past couple of years,” Barton said. “You can easily see Coach Swinney is a genuine, devout Christian who really cares about his players and the community surrounding the football team.”
During his time on campus, Barton was able to begin building a relationship with offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell and area recruiter Lemanski Hall.
“I did spend a lot of the day with Coach Caldwell and Coach Hall,” Barton said. “This was my first time there, and Clemson just started really recruiting me earlier in the spring. Coach Caldwell said my stock ‘went through the roof’ at junior day, but he wants to see me move in person first. I will be going down there this summer so can he evaluate me.”
When he competes at the Swinney Camp in early June, Barton hopes to show the coaching staff what he can bring to the table as an offensive lineman.
“The most important thing I want to show them is that I can move,” he said. “I am an athletic and mobile guy, and I play with tenacity and aggression. I’ve always been an undersized guy, so I compensate that with beating opponents to the point of attack and having great footwork.
“This offseason I decided that I’d had enough of being called too small. So I’ve been working very hard to get myself to where I’m at, which is 280 pounds. I didn’t want to just get fat though, I worked very hard in the weight room and have been supplementing my body with the right foods after as well. I’m only getting started with developing, but I’d say so far so good.”
College coaches have taken notice of Barton’s ability and potential, with schools such as Mississippi State, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Duke, Wake Forest, Louisville and Purdue extending offers since the calendar turned to 2019. Cincinnati was first to offer last September, followed by Central Michigan and Washington State in October.
According to Barton, his recruitment is wide open for the time being.
“I will start to narrow it down in the summer,” he said, “but for now I am still looking at all schools.”
Barton, a first-team all-state performer, plans to visit Duke, Virginia and Virginia Tech soon. Besides Clemson, he has also been to Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Michigan State this spring.
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