'Fantastic' Clemson visit exceeded expectations of big-time OL

'Fantastic' Clemson visit exceeded expectations of big-time OL


'Fantastic' Clemson visit exceeded expectations of big-time OL


The Clemson Insider caught up with a big-time Virginia-based offensive lineman who was on campus last weekend.

Tuscarora (Leesburg, Va.) three-star offensive tackle Fletcher Westphal — a 6-foot-8, 320-pound sophomore in the class of 2024 – was on campus at Clemson for an unofficial visit Saturday, March 12.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “It was actually my first time down in Clemson, actually to any South Carolina school. It exceeded the expectations I had for it.”

What did Westphal hear from the coaching staff while he was on campus?

“They weren’t really focusing too much on the football aspect, it was ‘We picked you to be here, you’re one of the select few and we want to build a relationship,'” he said. “They were very clear on that if this was your first time here, you’re not gonna get an offer.

“‘We’re here to build a relationship. We’re here to show you what our program’s about. ‘We’re here to build a program,’ and that was kind of their main message.”

Westphal appreciates that level of honesty.

“I do,” he said, “I don’t want to build a relationship with them if they’re not telling the truth and they’re just lying straight up to you. I’d like to think that I can find the lie pretty well. I could tell that they weren’t lying. They made it extremely clear that they wanted to build a relationship with me as well.”

Westphal got the invite the Wednesday prior to when he visited. So, Clemson and offensive line coach Thomas Austin has only gotten in contact with him very recently.

“He’s a great dude,” Westphal said when asked about his impression of Austin. He’s very nice, very welcoming. You can tell that he takes the time. We saw a practice while we were there. While there is some hustle, there was like the finesse to it. He would still take his time when someone did something wrong. When we went into the meeting room, he just brought up some key points that every lineman needs to work on.”

Westphal was a big fan of Austin’s coaching style and how he was able to keep everything quick and efficient throughout the course of practice. As he watched practice, Westphal had his eyes focused on one Clemson player in particular: Tristan Leigh.

“I wasn’t specifically watching any lineman besides Tristan because he’s from the Virginia area,” Westphal said. “I know his younger brother (Aidan Leigh) and our parents know each other as well. I was mainly watching him.

What has Westphal heard about Clemson from the Leigh family?

“I know that they all love it,” he said. “They love the positive environment. They love how the coaches interact with Tristan, how much improvement he’s had since he’s been there and just how everything’s on another level.”

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