Judah Holtzclaw is coming off a strong season at Westerville (Ohio) Central High School in 2020, when he earned first-team all-state recognition and led his team to the Ohio D1 Region 3 Finals.
Despite playing only nine games – and seeing action past the first half in just four of those games due to large leads – the 6-foot-6, 225-pound quarterback threw for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns against two interceptions while rushing for 400 yards and 10 more scores on the ground.
“The growth I made from last year to this year was incredible,” Holtzclaw said. “I became much stronger and faster, which is why I was able to run the ball as well as I did this year.”
Originally a class of 2021 recruit, Holtzclaw recently decided to reclassify to the 2022 class in order to help him gain more exposure to college football coaches and programs.
The NCAA dead period, which has been in place since last March because of COVID-19, has precluded prospects such as Holtzclaw from visiting schools and attending camps. Meanwhile, the dead period has also prevented coaches from visiting prospects at their schools to scout them in person.
“Going into this football season I felt I grew a lot and did what I needed to do, but not being able to visit/go to camps really hurt my recruiting and I feel I was missed on,” Holtzclaw said of why he reclassified. “So, I decided it was best I reclassify to try and get my name out there even more.”
Holtzclaw has heard from several FBS programs, including Clemson, since making the move to the 2022 class.
“I’ve talked to Houston, Pitt, Akron, Clemson and a few others about making this decision,” he said. “They have all wanted to see me in person before moving forward in the process though.”
Holtzclaw has been on Clemson’s recruiting radar for a while, having participated in the Dabo Swinney Football Camp in the summer of 2019. He also made an unofficial visit to campus for the Wake Forest game in November 2019 after visiting Clemson to watch a spring practice that year.
According to Holtzclaw, the Tigers have expressed interest in some of the attributes he brings to the table as a signal-caller.
“Clemson has said they like my size a lot and my ability to run,” Holtzclaw said, “and they said I have good accuracy.”
Holtzclaw believes he has plenty to offer as a quarterback for a college program.
“I feel I bring a certain dynamic to the game,” he said. “I can make all the throws and I can run whenever I need to. I have worked extremely hard at watching film and learning defensive schemes and coverages. Most of this year playing, it felt the game had slowed down for me just from being able to read everything so much faster.”
An offer from Clemson, in the words of Holtzclaw, “would be a dream come true” if he were to receive one in the future.
“It would mean everything,” he said. “The way they run their program and the culture is so much different from everywhere else. From the first time I’ve been there I’ve always loved it, so an offer would be a dream come true.”