The nation’s top-ranked athlete in the 2023 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, is five-star Samuel M’Pemba of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.).
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior, originally from St. Louis, Mo., is back at IMG now after spending the summer months with family in Africa. Because he was out of the country, M’Pemba couldn’t visit any colleges this summer but plans to see some games at various schools during the upcoming season.
The Clemson Insider caught up with M’Pemba, who said he has yet to schedule any game-day visits, though Clemson remains on his radar for a potential trip this fall.
“I want to come down and see how the love is down there,” he said.
What is M’Pemba’s overall impression of the environment at Clemson, from what he has heard about it?
“A great family atmosphere and culture,” he said.
Although M’Pemba hasn’t been in touch with Clemson’s staff lately while out of the states, he has communicated with defensive coordinator Brent Venables in the past. M’Pemba has the talent and ability to play a number of positions at the next level — including defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end and wide receiver — but believes the Tigers like him best on the defensive side of the ball.
M’Pemba hasn’t had the opportunity to meet Clemson’s coaches in person yet, but Venables, head coach Dabo Swinney and company have already made a good impression on him from afar.
“I know that they coach extremely well but have fun while coaching, which makes the game more fun,” he said. “And they have the ability to get you wherever you want to be, wherever that may be.”
More than 30 programs have thrown their hats in the ring for M’Pemba, who touts offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon and Southern Cal among many others.
According to M’Pemba, the suitors involved in his recruitment “are pretty even” as far as how much love they have been showing him.
Knowing how selective Clemson is with the prospects that it pursues, M’Pemba would certainly be appreciate of an offer from the Tigers if they decide to enter the mix moving forward and feels they “would become one of the top contenders” in his recruitment.
“An offer from Clemson would mean a lot,” he said, “especially since they only offer so many people.”
M’Pemba is ranked as the No. 1 athlete and No. 14 overall prospect, regardless of position, in the 2023 class per the 247Sports Composite.