Clemson is always looking one step ahead.
That’s why the Tigers are continuing to keep tabs on Westerville (Oh.) 2022 three-star QB Judah Holtzclaw, who recently transferred to Northeast Georgia Prep Academy from Westerville Central.
Holtzclaw (6-6, 235) had an opportunity to make his way back down to Clemson for Dabo Swinney Camp earlier last month. He’s an under-the-radar prospect, who hasn’t been getting his due on the recruitment front.
He recently caught up with The Clemson Insider regarding his relationship with Clemson and his current recruitment.
“It was my first time back there in a while, so it was nice getting back there,” Holtzclaw said. “The camp went well. It was one of the better camps that I’ve had.
“I was in the top group the entire time, which was nice. That was something that stood out to me, to be one of the guys that [Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter] was really, really looking at.”
That being said, what kind of feedback did Holtzclaw get from Streeter?
“They’ve always said that they love my size and athleticism,” he added.
Streeter informed Holtzclaw that Clemson is going to continue to keep tabs on him and watch how he develops.
The Tigers have their Class of 2022 commit at quarterback right now in Austin (TX.) Westlake four-star QB Cade Klubnik. If things fall through, obviously, the Tigers would become more in touch with Holtzclaw, but they want him to continue to just do his thing.
Holtzclaw has communicated with the Tigers on-and-off since his visit. He speaks with Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, who is the lead recruiter for Holtzclaw’s area in Ohio.
“It’s great,” Holtzclaw said of his relationship with Caldwell. “Out of all the coaches I’ve talked to consistently, that one’s always been consistent in terms of the interest level. It’s always good talking to Coach Caldwell.”
Clemson will always seemingly be an option for Holtzclaw until it’s not.
“I definitely have an interest in them,” he said. “Since the first time I went there, it’s always been one of my favorite places because of culture and everything about Clemson is just different from anywhere else. They’re always in the back of my mind. If the opportunity ever comes, I’d definitely jump on it.”
While Clemson obviously has Klubnik on board in ‘22, Holtzclaw is monitoring what happens with Bogart (Ga.) North Oconee 2021 QB Bubba Chandler. The two-sport athlete is projected to be selected in the first round of next week’s MLB draft. While Chandler is currently enrolled at Clemson, there remains the possibility that he could turn pro.
Holtzclaw pointed to that as one of the reasons why Clemson is still talking to him as much as they are.
Holtzclaw recently reclassified to the 2022 class. After his junior season and those subsequent camps, college coaches communicated with Holtzclaw that they needed to see his release speed up and wanted to see him get faster, stronger, etc.
When he was finally ready to show those things, that’s when Covid hit. Holtzclaw said that really hurt him in terms of his recruitment because teams thought he was still the same quarterback when he actually wasn’t.
That’s essentially why he decided to reclassify, which allowed him to go on the recruiting trail this summer and participate in camps like Clemson’s.
“Every place I went to, I felt like I was at least top-3 of the quarterbacks there, no doubt,” he said.
Holtzclaw had an opportunity to gain some national exposure this summer. He attended two mega camps while also making his way to Georgia and Michigan State. He also had private workouts at both Louisiana and Houston, which he said both went really well.
Once the dead period is over, Holtzclaw is visiting UCF at the end of July. He has nothing planned after that, but that should change.
Recruiting has been tough for Holtzclaw, but he believes he’s on the brink of his recruitment picking up. Once he picks up one offer, he’s anticipating the floodgates to open up.
Holtzclaw feels like he’s been underlooked and underrecruited. He has a chip on his shoulder and is always trying to prove himself.
“I feel like I can make the play that a lot of people can’t,” Holtzclaw said. “I can escape the pocket whenever I need to. I can always keep it going, find a way to have a positive play out of something that might be going negative. I can make any throw you ask me to. I’m always willing to do anything I’m asked of.”