Clemson has only offered a couple of defensive ends in the 2021 class so far, but if the Tigers choose to expand their board, Winston-Salem (N.C.) Prep four-star Zaire Patterson is a candidate to pick up an offer.
Patterson (6-6, 225) is receiving interest from Clemson and has been in contact with area recruiter Mike Reed as well as defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall.
“A few convos with coach Reed and one with coach Hall,” Patterson told The Clemson Insider. “Just (talking about) building relations with Clemson and getting down there for a game.”
Clemson played host to Patterson during the season when he visited for the Wake Forest game on Nov. 16.
“Visit was great, atmosphere was amazing like I’ve never seen before and the facilities look amazing,” he said.
Patterson holds scholarship offers from schools such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Syracuse and West Virginia. A few of those schools are standing out to him right now in terms of how hard they’re recruiting him.
“UNC and South Carolina still have been strong in showing the most love,” he said, “and Florida has also joined in.”
Patterson said he does not yet have a timeline for his commitment but added “it’s coming together and it won’t be long for a decision.”
Right now, Patterson is focused on improving as a player heading into his senior season.
“Just working on developing my own skill set and body for high school, then I will put the thoughts together for the best school for me,” he said.
Where would Clemson stand in Patterson’s recruitment if it pulls the trigger on an offer before he renders a commitment?
“Tigers would be towards the top based on productivity and ability to breed NFL players,” he said.
Patterson is ranked as high as the No. 11 weak-side defensive end and No. 166 overall prospect in the 2021 class by 247Sports. As a junior this season, he racked up 129 total tackles, 27 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 27 quarterback hurries, nine forced fumbles and three interceptions.
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