One elite prospect from the Peach State on Clemson’s future recruiting board, and on the radar of plenty of other Power Five conference programs, is Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek four-star safety Caleb Downs.
The 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore is ranked among the top 15 prospects in the class of 2023 regardless of position by 247Sports and has already received more than a dozen major scholarship offers, including offers from North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, NC State, Penn State and Tennessee among others.
While the recruiting process is just getting started for Downs, certain schools have done a good job in making a strong impression on him in the early going of his recruitment.
“Some schools are standing out,” Downs told The Clemson Insider, “but it’s still early in the process so I’m taking my time.”
Clemson is one program that piques the interest of Downs, who has good football bloodlines as the son of former NC State and NFL running back Gary Downs, and the brother of current North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs.
Clemson safeties coach Mickey Conn, who has ties to the Peach State as the former longtime Grayson (Ga.) High School head coach, is showing interest in Caleb – and the interest between he and the Tigers is certainly mutual.
“Clemson has been a program I’ve liked since I was a kid,” Caleb said. “I have tremendous respect for their program in every way.”
Clemson typically doesn’t offer sophomore prospects, per Dabo Swinney’s policy, but the Tigers would definitely have the attention of Downs if they decide to extend an offer to him down the road.
“That’s an offer that like nobody can ignore,” Downs said, “just because of how selective they are and how good they are, which allows them to be selective.”
Downs is enjoying the recruiting process right now, though he looks forward to being able to check out colleges in person once the NCAA dead period – which has been in place since last March due to COVID-19 – is eventually lifted.
“The recruiting process is going good right now,” he said. “Only thing is that (the coronavirus) has stopped visits so I can’t go to any of the schools.”
Downs is ranked as the No. 2 prospect from Georgia, No. 2 safety nationally and No. 14 overall prospect in the class of 2023 by 247Sports. He was recently named to the 2020 MaxPreps Sophomore All-America Team.