One of Clemson’s top targets on the defensive side of the ball for the 2022 class is Keon Sabb, a five-star prospect from Williamstown (N.J.) High School ranked as the No. 1 safety in the country per multiple recruiting services.
Sabb (6-3, 195) is staying patient with the recruiting process right now as he waits for on-campus recruiting to open back up so he can get out on the road again and check out some of the schools he is most interested in.
All unofficial and official visits have been suspended since last March during the ongoing NCAA dead period, which remains in place through at least April 15 due to COVID-19 concerns.
“It’s been a little tough not being able to visit schools,” Sabb said during a Zoom interview with The Clemson Insider. “There’s some guys committing already without visiting schools. So, I’m just taking the process really slow. I’m just waiting until this dead period is lifted so I can visit some schools.”
Sabb, who holds 30-plus scholarship offers, made the first cut in his recruitment last October when he released a list of his top 15 schools comprised of Clemson as well as Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Looking ahead, Sabb has given thought to when he hopes to further narrow down his recruitment and how many programs will make his next cut.
“I’m thinking it might be drop a top five,” he said. “I want to drop it before the dead period is up so I can figure out what schools I’m going to take visits to, but we haven’t gotten a chance to pinpoint a date on it yet.”
According to Sabb, Clemson is one of the programs pursuing him most heavily along with a handful of others, and those are the schools he is looking to see in person when the NCAA allows prospects to resume making on-campus visits.
“It’s like the same schools that I would like to visit when the dead period is up,” Sabb said when asked who is recruiting him the hardest. “So, it’s like Ohio State, Clemson obviously, Penn State, Oklahoma, Rutgers and the schools like that.”
Sabb, who received an offer from Clemson last summer, stays in regular contact with the staff – particularly Brent Venables – and continues to build a relationship with the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.
“I talk to Coach Venables the most out of all the coaches, and I probably talk to him at least once or twice a week,” Sabb said. “In the beginning, it was mostly like football stuff. But now we’re trying to get to know each other, feel each other out throughout this recruiting process.”
“As a coach, he’s amazing,” Sabb added of Venables. “And as a person, I’m still getting to know him. But right now from what I’ve learned about him so far, he’s a really nice guy.”
Sabb is also fond of Clemson’s program overall from what he knows about it.
“It’s a really good program,” he said. “They definitely win a lot. Defensive side is really good. Isaiah Simmons went there, and he was a terrific football player. It’s just a great place.”
Moving forward, Sabb isn’t sure when he will make his commitment decision as it depends on when the NCAA dead period is lifted and he is able to visit schools. But Sabb knows what will be important to him when he chooses a college in the future.
“I just want it to be a home atmosphere,” he said. “I don’t want to go to a school just off the name. I want a school that actually wants me for the player I am, and just the best fit for me.”
Expect Clemson to factor prominently into Sabb’s recruitment as one of the top contenders going forward.
“They’re definitely one of my top schools for sure,” he said. “So, they’ll definitely be in the top five.”
Sabb is rated as a five-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite, which considers him the No. 1 prospect from New Jersey, No. 1 safety nationally and No. 12 overall prospect in the 2022 class. ESPN and 247Sports both rank Sabb as the top safety in the class as well.