4-star Peach State linebacker: Clemson-GT game 'One of the best visits I've been on'

4-star Peach State linebacker: Clemson-GT game 'One of the best visits I've been on'

Recruiting

4-star Peach State linebacker: Clemson-GT game 'One of the best visits I've been on'

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An offer from Clemson could come soon for the standout Georgia prospect

One of the nation’s top linebackers in the Class of 2023 was in attendance for Clemson’s conference opener against Georgia Tech this past Saturday.

The Clemson Insider caught up with Denmark High School (Alpharetta, Ga.) four-star linebacker Dee Crayton about his experience in The Valley. 

“It was great. It was probably one of the best visits I’ve been on,” he told TCI. “Just the family environment, how the coaches showed love as soon as I got there, how they showed me around. The love that Dabo showed, Coach Venables, all the coaches, they were making me feel at home already.”

Crayton had a chance to talk with Brent Venables, Clemson’s defensive coordinator, while he was on Clemson’s campus Saturday.

“He just said keep working,” Crayton said. “He loves what I’m doing on the field and definitely keep in touch. We’ve been talking for a good while now. It’s just good to be face-to-face and continue this relationship with each other and hopefully, they’ll offer me soon. I’m just gonna keep working and put it in God’s hands. So, we’ll see”

While Crayton can’t say for certain, he believes that Venables will be in attendance for one of his games this season.  The two have already formed a unique bond.

“He’s a great guy. We talk probably weekly,” he said. “We just are building this relationship and he’s been watching my film and stuff. It was definitely good talking to him face-to-face. It feels like we already talked face-to-face before, that’s how good it was.”

What did Venables tell Crayton about a potential offer?

“He told me that it could come soon, just keep working and keep producing on the field how I am now,” Crayton added. “It’s not going to be easy, but he’s definitely liking what I’m doing. It’s definitely possible for me.”

Obviously, Clemson is taking the patient approach with Crayton, who holds offers from schools like Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Maryland, Mizzou, Penn State, Pitt, USF, Syracuse and UCF.

Crayton respects how Clemson goes about its business on the recruiting trail.

“Clemson’s a top-tier school in the whole country,” he said. “So, I really respect that and I’m just gonna keep working and put it in God’s hands. I know that it’s not gonna come easy and I just have to keep producing on the field, trying to win games, and ultimately, that’s gonna get me to that offer soon.”

In addition to Clemson, Crayton mentioned Penn State, Cincinnati, Mizzou, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Auburn, Oregon as schools that are currently standing out in his recruitment.

Clemson was Crayton’s first game this fall. He’s going to Auburn’s game against Georgia State this weekend and then he’ll be heading up to Penn State for its matchup against Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 13.

That atmosphere in Death Valley, though, is just something different.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that before,” Crayton said. “It was a packed out stadium, probably over 100,000 people there and just walking up on that hill and seeing all those players run-up, a whole bunch of future NFL players, so inspirational. I just loved it. I talked to Dabo, he hyped us up. It was a crazy experience. I mean the experience, just seeing all the fans…it was really crazy. I haven’t experienced anything like it.”

Crayton got the chance to talk with both Barrett Carter and Phil Mafah. They’re both from his neck of the woods out in Alpharetta (Ga.).

Circling back to his time at last Saturday’s game, Crayton saw Clemson’s defense make history. In the team’s 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Week 3, Clemson held the Yellow Jackets without an offensive touchdown, marking the third consecutive game that the Tigers accomplished that feat.

“Man, that defense. My head coach (Mike Palmieri), actually coached Trenton Simpson,” Crayton added. He came down to my school, so it was good seeing him in person for the first time. That defense and the linebackers, especially in the middle…I feel like they want me to play linebacker…I loved seeing that and I love Clemson’s defense. It’s really one to be reckoned with and I love seeing that, especially being a linebacker.”

Crayton has shown on film that he can be an inside or outside linebacker. He feels that he’s versatile enough, where he can play anywhere a team may need him at the next level.

“I’m definitely a vocal leader and I definitely lead by example, meaning that I lead with my play, but I’m not just there to lead,” he said when asked to describe himself as a player. “I have to lead by my own voice. I tell other players what to do, like the QB of the defense. It’s not gonna be easy, but just being a leader, not even just on the defense, but on the offense, just encouraging my teammates up the whole game. Doing everything I can to win.”

When it comes to a school at the next level, Crayton will be looking at the program’s track record in developing linebackers and how they coach them up, he said. Academics are also going to be an important factor for Crayton and his family. 

As far as his recruitment is concerned, Crayton is just weighing his options. He wants to take in more game-day atmospheres as he did at Clemson and see how the family environment feels. There’s no official timetable for a decision, but he would like to make one before his senior season.

Crayton is ranked as the No. 19 linebacker and No. 20 overall prospect in the state of Georgia for the 2023 class, per the 247Sports Composite. Rivals ranks Crayton as the No. 11 outside linebacker and No. 18 prospect in the state for the 2023 class.

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