Christopher Vizzina teared up a little bit.
As Clemson coach Dabo Swinney announced that he would be offering the fast-rising four-star quarterback prospect out of Briarwood Christian (Birmingham, Ala.), all the hard work he put into earning this offer began to flash through his mind.
Leading up to Vizzina’s visit, he had been texting back and forth with Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter.
On Friday night, Vizzina was driving through Atlanta with his parents, while Streeter walked him through the day. He informed Vizzina that Swinney wanted to meet with him after Tiger Walk.
“I thought that was going to be a pretty cool experience regardless of whether I got the offer or not,” he told The Clemson Insider on Sunday.
Vizzina headed into Swinney’s office, alongside his parents, Dabo’s wife, Kathleen, and Streeter.
Still, he was unassuming and didn’t anticipate that the conversation was related to a potential offer. Vizzinia figured that Swinney likes to meet with a lot of the top prospects on their visits, prior to kickoff.
“He pretty much came out and was talking to me about my character and things that he’s heard about off the field,” Vizzina said. “He kind of came off like, ‘We’ve only offered one quarterback in the class and we normally only do that.’ So, at that moment I was like, well he’s probably gonna tell me that I might be next on the list if Arch (Manning) doesn’t wanna come.
“But then he was like, ‘I’m ready to offer you now.’ My mom got emotional. It was a really special experience. Just to know how much goes into Clemson offering a quarterback, it meant the world. Regardless of where I go, it was a very special day.”
What’s been the overall message that Vizzina has received from Streeter and the remainder of Clemson’s coaching staff?
“They’ve been recruiting me since my freshman year, so they’ve been evaluating me longer than anybody,” he said. “They got to come see me play this year. When I went to camp this summer, they knew I was pretty good, but I don’t think they expected me to hang in there because that was like an elite camp. If you look at the rankings now, five of the top 10 quarterbacks now were at that camp…I really impressed Coach Streeter.
Since then, they’ve been building a strong relationship. Streeter has come down to Alabama to watch Vizzina play, he’s been keeping up to date on his film, has done all his research on him and talked to all his coaches.
“He was just telling me that this has been a long time coming and that I check all the boxes for them,” Vizzina said.
It’s almost fitting that Vizzina and Isidore Newman (New Orleans, La.) five-star Arch Manning are the only two quarterbacks in the class of 2023 that currently hold Clemson offers.
They went at it the entire time during their afternoon session at the Swinney Camp earlier this summer. It was just a little friendly competition, but the two were going pass for pass with each other, drawing the attention of fellow highly-touted prospects, Clemson’s coaches and current players.
“To think only two people in the world have one — me and Arch — it’s pretty crazy,” Vizzina said. “I was hoping that I’d have one back in the summer, but did I really think I was gonna get one? I couldn’t tell you.”
Beyond the offer, how was Vizzina’s first gameday experience in Death Valley?
“After I got the offer, I was pretty shook at what just happened,” he said. “I got to hear Coach Swinney’s pregame speech. They let some of the recruits come to the locker room before the game. So, to hear what they had to say, I really believed that they were gonna win after being in the locker room for about five minutes, just seeing their faces and Coach Swinney and how he was thinking…They came out firing. The crowd was electric. I got to go up and watch them touch the rock and run down the hill. That was something special for sure. That was so unique. No one else does that in the country.
“This was the perfect game for me to come to. I’m really glad I waited for the right time. It’s definitely one of my favorite visits so far this year. That was an unforgettable day just all around. I’m gonna remember [Saturday] for the rest of my life.”