When DJ Wesolak trimmed down his list of around 50 scholarship offers last weekend, the four-star defensive end from Boonville, Missouri, felt a sense of relief.
After releasing his top 15 schools on social media, Wesolak now has a smaller group he can focus on and doesn’t have to entertain as many suitors as he moves forward in the recruiting process and tries to find the right place for him.
“It relieves a lot of stress,” Wesolak said to The Clemson Insider. “It’s hard to communicate with 50-plus schools, try to give them all the same attention. It gets stressful at times, especially being a high school student still and dealing with the process of high school and everything and trying to work out. So, it’s really relieving, but also exciting because you want to figure out where your visits are going to be and things like that.”
Clemson made the cut for Wesolak, along with Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Southern Cal, Texas and Texas A&M.
Now that he has narrowed the field, the next step in the process for Wesolak is making unofficial and official visits after the NCAA dead period concludes at the end of May and recruits are able to hit the road again to check out colleges and meet coaching staffs in person beginning June 1.
“Since visits are opening, I’m trying to get out there,” he said. “I’m trying to take officials to ones that are more far away, take unofficials to ones that are closer to home and just slowly narrow them down from there. With the visits being allowed now, I might make a decision sooner than later. But just taking it slow with my process and trying to find a home.”
One of the trips Wesolak already has scheduled is an unofficial visit to Clemson for its “Elite Retreat” gathering for some of the nation’s top prospects from June 12-13.
“I’m excited,” he said of attending the event. “They said it’s going to be a select few that are invited to it, so it’s going to be a group of guys like myself that will be there and be as interested as I am in Clemson and see what they have to show us, just the life around the campus and things like that.”
Of all the schools recruiting him, Wesolak feels his relationship with Dabo Swinney’s staff at Clemson is one of the best.
“Clemson and a couple other few, they make you feel at home by talking with more than one coach,” Wesolak said. “They don’t just narrow it down to the defensive side. I talk to Coach Swinney. The offensive coaches, they all talk to me and reach out. We have open FaceTimes, we have a group chat and we all just text daily or weekly about things.”
The Tigers have let Wesolak know they are prepared to accept his commitment if and when he wants to jump on board.
“They said they’re ready whenever I’m ready to commit,” he said. “They want me to be a Tiger and just develop there. Like (defensive ends) coach (Lemanski) Hall told me – we talked a couple days ago – he was like, their staff’s going to get you where you want to be. They’re going to help us. They don’t want to guarantee players to start, but at least I’d have an opportunity to come there young and play as a freshman, a good opportunity if I work.”
Among the programs in Wesolak’s top 15, Clemson is in the top tier of contenders.
“They’re probably upper top five,” he said. “They make me feel like a priority. They really want me … So, they make me feel like I’m going to have a shot to be great there.”
Wesolak is ranked as high as the No. 10 defensive end and No. 92 overall prospect in the 2022 class by ESPN. Before heading to Clemson for the Elite Retreat, he plans to stop by Georgia for an unofficial visit after flying into Atlanta.
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