Coaches excited about future of ‘freaky talented’ Ajou

Coaches excited about future of ‘freaky talented’ Ajou

Football

Coaches excited about future of ‘freaky talented’ Ajou

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Among the summer enrollees in Clemson’s 2020 signing class is Ajou Ajou, a raw but high-upside wide receiver from Brooks, Alberta, who became the Tigers’ first football signee from Canada when he signed in December.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder played only two years of high school football — one in Canada and one at Clearwater Academy in Florida — but is a tremendous athlete with through-the-roof potential.

Ajou also played basketball and competed as a high jumper in Edmonton, breaking the provincial high-jump record as a 10th grader at Harry Ainlay School in Edmonton.

New Clemson receivers coach Tyler Grisham is excited to coach Ajou when he enrolls at the school ahead of the 2020 season.

“Ajou is freaky talented,” Grisham told The Clemson Insider earlier this year. “If you just look at him, he’s got really long arms, great length. If you watch his tape, great jumping ability, the ability to high point the ball and outjump a defender, make those contested plays. His run after the catch is phenomenal. So, I just can’t wait to get him here and start to work with him because he’s only played so much ball, and so there might be a little bit of a learning curve. But I fully expect him to get here, to take coaching, to be coachable and to really just skyrocket. I think he’s going to be a phenomenal player for us.”

Ajou Ajou

Ajou, who was recruited to Clemson by Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott, committed on July 27, 2019.

He came to the Dabo Swinney Football Camp last summer, his first trip to Clemson, and left with a scholarship offer from the Tigers even though he did not know how to properly line up as a wide receiver in American football.

“This guy, I kid you not, had never been in a stance,” Swinney said. “He’s played football his whole life. I watched his tape, and this guy’s playing in snow and he’s tough as they come. This is how he grew up, playing in the snow, playing Canadian football his whole life. Three downs — that’s how he’s played football, that’s what he knows. And then he comes to Florida and he has to go do spring practice in May. Well, then he comes to us in June to camp. Jeff and Tony went down there to see him, and they were like Coach, wait till you see him. And I said all right, I need to see him in camp.

“So he comes to camp, and literally he did not really know how to come out of a stance because he’s always had a running start. His whole life, he’s had running starts. So when I talk about a guy that we’re going to have a chance to really just kind of mold as a wideout guy, I am so excited about him.”

Ajou finished the 2019 season with 39 receptions for 686 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 17.6 yards per reception. He showed his ability at midseason against American Collegiate Academy with 10 catches for 190 yards and three scores, then followed up the next game against Angels Christian Academy with five receptions for 115 yards and two scores.

Between Ajou and E.J. Williams, who enrolled at Clemson in January, Swinney loves what the Tigers brought in at wide receiver as part of their 2020 class.

“He’s just kind of a freaky skilled guy,” Swinney said of Ajou. “Super excited about him, and man, between he and EJ, we got two real stallions right there that’s going to keep us as a pretty good wideout group for a while. So, really excited about them.”

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