Kyle Vaka gives the latest, looking to visit again this spring
A talented wide receiver from the Peach State, with a family tie to Clemson, is eyeing a return trip to Tiger Town this spring.
Johns Creek (Ga.) High School’s Kyle Vaka hopes to get back on campus for the Tigers’ spring game. The class of 2024 prospect has been to Clemson a bunch of times in the past, including as an unofficial visitor for the Louisiana Tech game last September, and he has a sister who attends the university.
“Hopefully I’ll be up there for the spring game, for sure,” Vaka told TCI. “That’ll be a good time up there for the spring game. Might be back there sooner than that, maybe non-football related, to visit my sister. But football-related, hopefully the spring game I’ll be up there.”
Vaka, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior, continues to keep tabs on Clemson and was in touch with wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham over the holidays.
“I have been in contact with him throughout the holidays, wishing him a happy holidays, he wished me the same,” Vaka said. “Just letting him know I’m pulling for him and his wide receiver room. I’m paying close attention to the ’23 (recruiting) class and the additions, and I see a bright future for Clemson. So, I’m gonna keep working and we’ll see if or where I might fit in there.”
Vaka liked what he saw from Clemson this past season, especially what he characterized as the resilient nature of Dabo Swinney’s team.
“I think Clemson just shows a lot of resiliency when I watched Clemson play, especially after last year and a lot of the noise coming in about how Clemson was going to do,” he said. “They played in some huge road games – Wake Forest, that was a huge game for them to go in and win. So, they played in some big games, and I just see a lot of resiliency from them, especially switching QBs going into the bowl game and switching QBs in the middle of the ACC Championship Game. It looks like they’re really out there to play for each other, and I know that’s the standard that Coach Swinney set, and it’s exciting to see those guys and the resiliency they have and how they play for each other.”
Vaka earned his first scholarship offer earlier this month from UAB. Along with Clemson, he made gameday recruiting visits during the 2022 season to Vanderbilt, SMU, Rice and William & Mary.
As a junior, Vaka hauled in 37 receptions for 711 yards and five touchdowns. He finished the campaign with a bang on Oct. 28, when he posted seven receptions for 218 yards and two touchdowns (75 and 80 yards) in Johns Creek’s 47-15 win over Pope (Marietta, Ga.).
Vaka has added good weight since concluding the season and is dialed in on improving as an all-around player and athlete this offseason.
“I’m working really hard right now, eating a lot,” he said. “I put on about 10 pounds since the season ended, and making sure that weight is muscle and not fat because I want to stay lean, I want to stay fast. So, putting on a ton of weight. I’m training at my training facility, Redline, really working on my speed and my strength and my explosion. Trying to jump high, run fast, all those things just to become a better athlete and better all around. … I’m working really hard in all aspects of my game, athletically and football wise, just to become a better player and athlete. So, I’m excited to see what the rest of the offseason brings.”
Vaka looks up to and models his game after a couple of big-time NFL wide receivers, including Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills and a former Clemson star in Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I got two guys in the league that I really love to watch, and that’s Stefon Diggs and Tee Higgins,” he said. “They do things differently. Like Stefon Diggs, definitely more of a route runner guy. I like to watch his routes to see how he gets off the line and works those intermediate routes. He’s kind of a crafty guy, whereas Tee Higgins, he just goes up and gets the ball. Of course, Tee Higgins played at Clemson, so a Wide Receiver U alumni, and I just love watching Tee Higgins go up for jump balls. Every ball that’s in the air, he knows it’s his, and that’s what I love watching about Tee Higgins. And then Stefon Diggs is really a crafty route runner.”
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