Tyler Grisham has stayed in touch with a versatile in-state prospect in the 2023 class who camped at Clemson last summer and is drawing interest from a number of Division I programs.
Barnwell (S.C.) High School wide receiver/athlete Clay Pender has kept in contact with Grisham since working out with Clemson’s receivers coach at the Dabo Swinney Camp last June.
“We were really in touch during camp season and being up there for a camp during the summer,” Pender told TCI recently. “Just talking about my film and I just text him to check in. A few other coaches follow me from Clemson, but Coach Grisham is the one that stays in touch.”
Grisham has made a great impression on Pender and has expressed interest in the 6-foot-1, 170-pound junior.
“He’s an awesome dude,” Pender said. “He’s a funny guy, too. I like to think we have a great relationship. He always jokes about how I’d look like Hunter Renfrow out there with the Clemson gear on. I think he really likes my hands and speed. He saw me work out at the camp and was impressed by my route running. He also likes that I can play multiple positions so it doesn’t limit me to what I can do.”
Pender sees action in all three phases of the game for his high school team, playing on both sides of the ball at receiver, running back, free safety and cornerback, in addition to handling special teams duties as a kicker and punter.
“I’m like a Swiss Army knife,” Pender said, laughing. “I would describe myself as a playmaker and a gamer. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to bring home the W. Nothing would be possible without my teammates. So, I really love those guys who play beside me.”
Along with Grisham and Clemson, schools such as South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia State, Charleston Southern and the University of Pennsylvania are staying in touch with Pender, who made visits during the season to Georgia State, NC State, UNC Charlotte and Furman.
Pender was raised in a family of South Carolina fans that includes his uncle, Bru Pender, a Barnwell High product who was a defensive back for the Gamecocks from 1990-93.
But while Clay grew up a South Carolina fan, he would love to have the chance to suit up for Swinney and the Tigers in the future.
“I love everything Dabo stands for,” Pender said. “He’s a great head coach and knows how to win. Clemson is a winning program and I really like that. It’d mean a lot to me to get an offer from Clemson, especially it being the first offer. That first offer is really going to have that special place because I know the coaches took that chance on me. I just need that one opportunity to show the world what I can do, and I can’t wait to prove it.”
Clay comes from an athletic family, as not only did his uncle play football at South Carolina, but his father played college baseball at USC Aiken and his brother, Craig, is a quarterback at Cumberland University in Tennessee.
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