A No. 1-ranked linebacker prospect was at Bank of America Stadium last Saturday to see Clemson and Georgia battle it out in the marquee matchup.
Jefferson (Ga.) High School’s Sammy Brown – the nation’s top linebacker in the 2024 class according to 247Sports – attended the game as a guest of the Bulldogs, though he is also on the Tigers’ recruiting radar and liked what he saw from Brent Venables’ defense on the field as well.
“I thought the game was awesome,” Brown told The Clemson Insider. “I went as a guest of UGA, but I enjoyed watching both defenses and the way they executed their game plans. It’s pretty exciting when there are no offensive touchdowns scored!”
Specifically, when he watched Clemson on defense, Brown was impressed by starting linebackers James Skalski and Baylon Spector.
Skalski was named ACC Linebacker of the Week after tallying a game- and career-high 14 tackles, while Spector recorded his first career interception in the third quarter, picking off a third-down throw by quarterback J.T. Daniels.
Brown had the chance to be coached by Skalski and Spector when he worked out at the Dabo Swinney Camp in June.
“Both linebackers played an amazing game!” Brown said. “It was great to see them flying all over the field. Skalski had like (14) tackles, I think, and that’s crazy by itself, but against a high-powered offense like Georgia is insane. I was able to work with both Skalski and Spector at Clemson camp this summer, so it was cool to see them in a game setting!”
Brown plays on both sides of the ball at Jefferson High School. While a couple of schools are recruiting him as a running back, most view him more as a linebacker – including Clemson and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Brent Venables.
According to Brown, Venables liked the movement and aggressiveness that Brown displayed at camp, and Brown’s father, Michael – who is the associate head coach at Jefferson High – has been staying in touch with Clemson defensive analyst Ted Roof.
“My dad texts with Ted Roof from time to time,” Sammy said. “He texted after the Central Gwinnett game… I think he played there in high school.”
A bunch of major programs have already offered Brown, including Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Brown knows that Clemson doesn’t extend offers to sophomores like himself, but where do things stand with him and the Tigers early in the recruiting process?
“I would say I have a pretty strong relationship with Clemson and their staff,” he said. “They all seem like great people.”
Asked what appeals most to him about Clemson, Brown gave a definitive answer.
“Definitely the culture they have,” he said. “They might not always be the biggest or strongest. But they have an amazing culture. Their coaches and players know how to get up and work and push through tough things. They play at a higher level than everyone else, and it shows.”
Brown said he definitely plans to see the Tigers play again in person in at least one game at Death Valley this season.
Brown transferred to Jefferson from Commerce (Ga.) High ahead of his sophomore season. As a freshman in 2020, he garnered first-team all-state honors after rushing for 1,368 yards on 133 carries (10.3 average), catching six passes for 181 yards and totaling 19 all-purpose touchdowns to go with 41 tackles and two sacks.
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