Yellowhammer State standout ‘liked everything about Clemson’

Yellowhammer State standout ‘liked everything about Clemson’


Yellowhammer State standout ‘liked everything about Clemson’


There are a lot of players from Alabama on the Clemson football team’s roster, including safety Nolan Turner, linebacker LaVonta Bentley and wide receivers Justyn Ross and E.J. Williams, to name some.

The Tigers are always surveying the Yellowhammer State for top talent, and another young rising star from Alabama on Clemson’s recruiting radar is 2024 defensive back Jaylen Mbakwe from Clay-Chalkville High School (Pinson, Ala.).

The 6-foot, 170-pound sophomore traveled to Clemson for camp this past summer and made an impression on the staff with how he looked while working out.

“The coaches like how long I am, how well I flip my hips, my change in direction, my footwork, and my speed,” Mbakwe told The Clemson Insider recently.

The interest between the Tigers and Mbakwe is certainly mutual, and Clemson made a great impression on Mbakwe when he was on campus as well.

“It was great,” he said of the camp visit in June. “Honestly, I liked everything about Clemson. The football facility is top notch, but what stood out the most is how secluded the campus is. I really liked that. Just seemed like its own little world if you know what I mean.”

“Well-respected program,” he added of the Tigers. “Really like what they have produced on the defensive side of the ball.”

Mbakwe has already received offers from Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville and UAB.

Dabo Swinney and the Tigers typically don’t offer sophomores, per Swinney’s program policy, but Mbakwe would love to score an offer from Clemson down the road and have the chance to follow in the footsteps of fellow Alabama natives like Ross, Williams and Bentley.

“Don’t know them personally, but I most definitely keep up with them,” Mbakwe said. “Real ballers for sure. It would be an honor to follow those guys’ footsteps.”

Mbakwe, who also plays wide receiver for Clay-Chalkville in addition to DB, had already recorded 15 catches for 300 yards and five touchdowns through the first five games of his sophomore season to go with an interception and a couple of pass breakups.

“I’ll describe myself as a player with swagger and great IQ,” he said.

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