A linebacker in the class of 2023 estimates that he talks with Clemson’s co-defensive coordinators just about every day.
Mill Creek (Hoschton, Ga.) three-star Jamal Anderson is building up his relationship with Mickey Conn and Wes Goodwin on a daily basis.
“I just talk to them,” Anderson told The Clemson Insider. “We have a good relationship. Just see what they’re doing, what I’m doing. I’m hoping to get an offer in nearby times.
Anderson hasn’t discussed a potential offer with Clemson at this time. He would prefer to wait out, build a good relationship with the coaching staff and let his game do all the talking.
A lot of his conversations with Conn and Goodwin revolve around how he would fit into the defense at Clemson.
“They view me as an Isaiah Simmons-type of player,” he said. “They want to be very versatile and be able to cover man-defense, play on the line, basically do it all on defense.”
Anderson was able to take two in two game-day experiences at Memorial Stadium this season. He made his way to The Valley for Clemson’s games against Florida State and Wake Forest.
“It was super nice,” he said regarding his experiences. “I love all the coaches, they’re super nice. It just feels like a home environment. You just feel like you belong there. I don’t know, it’s just a different vibe you get from Clemson.
“I feel like Florida State was more like a lot of recruits coming. You go there, meet your position coach. Get a little tour. Talk to the coaches. Sit down and watch the game. But then, Wake Forest, I feel like it was less recruits and more personal, like getting to really know your position coach, meeting some players and all that. And really get a feel for it.”
Anderson also got a feel for how Clemson utilizes its linebackers, which definitely caught his attention.
“I like the way they utilize their linebackers and I know Barrett Carter,” he said. “He went to North Gwinnett. I know him well. I trained with him up at this place called G.A.T.A (Goldin Athletic Training Association) up in Suwanee. I definitely know him and I definitely like the way they use their linebackers.”
Obviously, during the regular season, former Clemson defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Brent Venables spearheaded Anderson’s recruitment and served as his “position coach” for his game-day visits.
In the wake of Venables’ departure to Oklahoma, the recruiting baton has been passed to Goodwin, along with Conn, who has served as his area recruiter.
It goes without saying that Goodwin and Venables have a different way of doing things on the recruiting trail. Of course, their defensive philosophies and tendencies almost certainly align, but from a personality standpoint? They couldn’t be more different.
Anderson’s gotten to see that first hand and while it’s been a bit of a transition, he’s seemingly impressed with what he’s heard from Goodwin thus far.
“I like him,” Anderson said of Goodwin. “He’s a really cool dude. We started speaking on my birthday, just a little bit ago, and he texted me. But, I like him a lot. I think he knows what he’s doing. He’s gonna do good with the defense, but it was definitely a transition from Venables to Goodwin.
“I know he’s kind of just going to fit himself into the Clemson scheme, just how Venables ran it, and base himself off of that.”
As for Conn, Anderson believes that his history at Grayson High School gives him a unique vantage point on the recruiting trail. Especially when considering his experience in the area and the relationships he’s cultivated at neighboring schools, like Mill Creek.
“He’s very close with my head coach — Josh Lovelady — and I speak with him a lot,” Anderson said of Conn. “He’s a very cool guy. He definitely knows what he’s doing with his players, as you can tell by the safeties that they have at Clemson and what they do in that defense.”
One thing that stood out to Anderson in his conversations with Conn is that Clemson shapes its defense around its players. That message certainly resonated with him and how the Tigers have and will operate their defense going forward.
Anderson is hopeful he’ll be able to meet with both Goodwin and Conn face to face for an unofficial visit this spring. If not, he will almost certainly be back in Tiger Town this summer for the Dabo Swinney Camp.
While Anderson will experience different things across the recruiting trail, he’s already outlined some of the more important factors that he’ll be looking for at the next level.
“Well first of all, obviously, they have to be able to win games and Clemson can definitely do that,” he said, “because everyone loves winning, so that’s up there. Just like a family experience that’s close to God. I know Coach Swinney is a close man to God. I like how it’s like a super family oriented feel there. I feel like I want that in a school too, if they can develop me not only as a player, but as a person.”
In the past couple of weeks, Anderson has seen his recruitment skyrocket. Since landing an offer from the University of Virginia on Nov. 11, Anderson has added offers from Liberty, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Utah, Boston College, Central Florida and Michigan State, all in the span of a month.
Anderson, of course, is the son of former University of Utah and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro running back, Jamal Anderson, Sr.
The elder Jamal has advised his son throughout his recruitment process, but when it comes to a decision, he isn’t going to push him in any direction. Jamal is grateful to have his father in his ear, but his college decision will ultimately be his.