Clemson’s top linebacker target in the 2021 class is Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett four-star Barrett Carter, a consensus top-100 national prospect according to the major recruiting services.
In February, Carter announced a top 11 list which included the Tigers along with Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Several of those schools are standing out to the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder right now in terms of how hard they’re recruiting him.
“Clemson, Auburn, Georgia and Ohio State,” Carter told The Clemson Insider recently.
Carter said he communicates with Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables via FaceTime about twice every week, while he also stays in touch with assistant coaches Mickey Conn and Todd Bates through text messaging.
“They’re just telling me how I fit their program from an athletic standpoint and being a person, how I’m the type of kid that they want to bring into the program, and that’s their message to me,” Carter said.
The Tigers offered Carter when he visited for the Florida State game last October and got him back on campus for their junior day March 7, when he was able to have a substantive conversation with head coach Dabo Swinney for the first time.
“That visit was amazing because that was my first actual non-game-day visit to Clemson, so it was really good to see how the coaches operate in a non-game situation, just seeing how they interact with the recruits and how they interact with parents and all that,” Carter said. “So, it was really good, and I got to talk to Coach Swinney. When they first offered me at the Florida State game, when I talked to Coach Swinney it was very brief. I really got to talk to him, and he was just saying how he was so happy that we got to make it up to Clemson. He’s just a great man in general, so it was good to finally talk to him.”
Carter thinks very highly of Swinney and the rest of the Tigers’ staff.
“Coach Swinney, he’s a legend to me,” Carter said. “He’s one of the best coaches in college football, but he’s also a really good man, and that speaks volumes when trying to choose a school because you don’t just want a coach that’s all about football and everything. The way that he can balance both and be a great man also, that’s huge. And all the coaches are really the same way. They’re all men of faith, so that’s huge to me.”
Clemson’s coaches are getting help recruiting Carter in the form of his close friend and teammate at North Gwinnett High School, four-star cornerback Jordan Hancock.
Hancock committed to the Tigers on March 11 after attending the junior day with Carter a few days earlier.
“To be honest, I wasn’t even surprised when he did it because on the visit, I could just tell how much he loved it and how much that he loves a place like Clemson, such a family-based program,” Carter said of Hancock’s commitment. “So, I wasn’t even surprised when he committed. But yeah, that’s my boy and he recruits me hard about Clemson.”
Looking ahead, there are a bunch of visits that Carter wants to make after the NCAA ends its dead period, which was recently extended through May 31 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ll be back at Clemson, for sure, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State definitely, probably Florida State and probably Alabama,” he said.
The plan for Carter right now is to get his commitment out of the way before his final high school football campaign comes around.
“I wanted to do it just before my senior football season,” he said. “I said that before corona and all this, so that’s probably going to delay my visits. But hopefully I can get all my officials done during the summer. I just want to be done before the season.”
Where does Clemson stand with Carter in his recruitment at this time?
“Clemson’s definitely at the top of my list,” he said. “That’s all I’ll say.”
Carter is ranked as high as the No. 35 overall prospect in the 2021 class by Rivals, which considers him the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker.
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