While Clemson already has three verbal commits on the offensive line for the Class of 2022, that hasn’t stopped the Tigers from showing interest in another name.
Mount Pleasant (S.C.) Oceanside Collegiate Academy OL Jacob Ashley was on campus this past weekend and was given the full experience by Clemson’s coaching staff.
“It was awesome. The facilities are amazing. They really treated me and everybody else top-notch, like we were the best to walk the streets,” Ashley told The Clemson Insider. “It was really cool how they treated us. It was almost unreal. The facilities were amazing. Everything was brand new, squeaky clean.”
Ashley’s relationship with Clemson actually dates back to an offer from Georgia State. Offensive analyst Thomas Austin, who most recently served as GSU’s offensive line coach, returned to Clemson’s coaching staff earlier this year. He had previously been a graduate assistant with the Tigers from 2014-18.
Austin has since carried over his relationship and has continued to recruit the big offensive lineman, even with a move back to the Power 5.
“It shows a lot from his point of character-wise,” Ashley said when asked about his relationship with Austin. “If he likes a player, that’s the player he’s gonna go for. Not kind of he has a specific group that he’s going to recruit. He’s gonna go out and he’s gonna find the players that he wants and that’s who he’s going to recruit. I definitely appreciate that a lot from him.”
“I know Coach Elliott and all the other coaches, they hold Clemson to a high standard. No one cleans up after Clemson was mentioned multiple times and it sure looked like that,” he added. Everything was clean and ready to go, wherever we showed up. It was very nice.”
It was Austin who turned offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Tony Elliott on to Ashley. Both coaches were impressed with what Ashley brought to the table during his two-day unofficial visit.
“Definitely staying in contact, hoping to hear more from them,” Ashley said of the feedback he’s received. “I’ve texted with Coach Austin and Coach Elliott back and forth since I got back. They said they enjoyed having me up there and I definitely enjoyed being up there. I’m gonna try to get up for possibly another visit, but definitely get down there in the fall for some games for sure.”
While Ashley didn’t leave with Clemson with an offer, his teammate, 4-star OL Monroe Freeling did.
“I was 100% excited for him,” Ashley said. “He’s definitely one of the hardest-working kids on the team, so he deserves it, without anything else said. He worked really hard and I believe he had that coming. He earned that. Very excited for him.”
There were a lot of highlights for Ashley on his visit, but something that truly stuck out to him was the opportunity to work with Tigers starting left guard, Matt Bockhorst. They stuck together throughout the duration of camp. Ashley noted that Bockhorst helped him out a lot, including in the 1-on-1 drills.
“Being able to get there and get coached by the players, as well as coaches and get to learn how they do things up there,” he said. “We actually went out to dinner and they took us to a private room in the back. The chef and owner came and greeted us and talked to all of us. Those two things were definitely top of the list.”
After going down to Clemson, Ashley has multiple visits lined up as his recruitment begins to heat up. He’s planning on making visits to UNC, Virginia Tech, Charleston Southern and Georgia State through the summer,
“It is for sure,” Ashley said when asked if his recruitment is starting to pick up. What some of the coaches were saying is when kids put 6-6 on their Twitter or on their HUDL that really means about 6-foot-4. It’s been good for me to be able to get out and get in front of coaches and see that I’m a true 6-6, pushing on 6-7.
“It’s definitely helped a lot, where I can get in front of the coaches and they can see me and see my body type and see how I can move,” he added. “That helps a lot.”