Ronan Hanafin knows that when he eventually leaves Clemson, he’ll be faster, stronger, smarter and most importantly, a better man.
It’s why the four-star athlete out of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (Massachusetts) verbally pledged to Dabo Swinney’s program on Sunday evening.
“I believe in what Clemson does and how they do it,” Hanafin told The Clemson Insider in a phone interview Wednesday. “All the coaches there — I have a lot of trust in them.”
Hanafin, one of the nation’s top-ranked athletes, informed Clemson of his decision about a week prior to this past Sunday’s announcement. He FaceTimed with Swinney, Tyler Grisham and Brandon Streeter and they were all super excited, jumping around like crazy.
From there, Hanafin made multiple phone calls to notify the coaches of his remaining finalists —Alabama, Notre Dame and Boston College — that he would not be coming to their program.
As Hanafin mentioned above, it wasn’t just one thing that set Clemson apart from the rest, but the program’s official visit weekend from June 3-5 really helped the Tigers’ case.
“It’s obviously everything Clemson has to offer in a couple of days, which is kind of a lot,” he said, “but you just have to take it all in and kind of experience everything for only a little bit. It was definitely an unreal time going there. We had a lot of fun with the other recruits.”
Speaking of the other recruits, Hanafin joins Rockwall (Texas) four-star Noble Johnson as Clemson’s other wide receiver commitment in its 2023 recruiting class. While Hanafin didn’t have a chance to meet Johnson, who wasn’t in attendance for Clemson’s official visit weekend, he spoke highly of his future teammate and how they can complement each other at the next level.
“I mean I think we’ll be a dynamic duo,” Hanafin said. “He’s obviously a very big and strong player, and I think I am too. I think we’re around the same size and I think we can do a lot of damage to defenses.”
They’ll have the opportunity to do so while catching passes from both Cade Klubnik and Christopher Vizzina. Hanafin has already gravitated towards both quarterbacks, as he bonded with Vizzina during Clemson’s official visit weekend. He also got the chance to spend time with Klubnik, who served as his player host for the weekend.
Hanafin said that he meshed well with Vizzina and is excited to see what they can do on Saturdays in the future. As for Klubnik, the freshman signal-caller was the first player that Hanafin met when he went down to Clemson. They got real close during the process and he was one of the first to know of his decision to commit to Clemson.
While Vizzina and Klubnik both put on their recruiting caps, it was Tyler Grisham who recruited Hanafin the hardest.
“Coach Grisham is a great guy,” Hanafin said of Clemson’s wide receivers coach. “I originally started talking to him back in February. He obviously did a great job. He’s one of the most high-energy people on the planet and I feel like he’s a great mentor for me already. I’m very excited to see what he can do in the wide receiver room.”
With that said, what kind of role does Grisham see for Hanafin at the next level?
“I think to start I’d be like the outside, boundary position,” Hanafin said. “I think they really see me as a physical player, as well as having a lot of speed and being able to stretch the field. One of the things that Coach Grisham and Coach Streeter love about me is they like my versatility to be able to play pretty much wherever they want me to. I think I can do a number of things.”
All of Hanafin’s finalists offered him as an athlete, to begin with. They pretty much let him choose based on where they saw him. With Clemson, since Grisham was originally the one that reached out to Hanafin — the Tigers obviously liked him as a receiver, but they still left the choice up to him.
“I want to play receiver,” he said, “and obviously it’s a great program and I think under Coach Grisham and Coach Swinney, they definitely have the knowledge to be able to develop me into a great receiver.”
Hanafin won’t be able to be a mid-year enrollee, so he’ll have to wait until next June before he’s officially enrolled and on campus.
With that said, what can Clemson fans expect out of Hanafin once he arrives on campus?
“I think I’m a very versatile, athletic player,” Hanafin said. “I don’t want to pat myself on the back or anything, but I know I can get the job done and I’m excited to see what I can bring to Clemson and how I can help them win a national championship.”
— Photo for this article courtesy of @RonanHanafin on Twitter.
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