Antonneous Clayton had a fruitful visit to Florida this weekend. The 4-star defensive end from South Georgia said he was on the verge of committing.
“I felt the aura of the coaches and the staff and the players and the relationships among everyone there with the players,” Clayton said. “I just felt that family aura around that place.”
The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder from Dooly County High School is rated as nation’s No. 9 prospect at weak-side defensive end. Florida had four players commit on the weekend.
The Gators almost got a fifth with Clayton. He told the AJC that he was about “80 percent” of the way toward committing.
“I just feel at home when I go there,” Clayton says. “I feel comfortable there. It doesn’t feel like I went anywhere than home when I go there.”
The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder said he’s settled on a Top 4 right now with Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Florida State.
“It can vary, but those are the places I have been right now,” he said. “I just have to see what anyone else out there has to bring to the table.”
Clayton said he will wait until after the season to make his commitment. He said his recruiting timeline could also extend all the way to National Signing Day.
He shared his thoughts on those four options:
Auburn: “I was once 90 percent ready to commit to Auburn,” he said. “My cousin (Montravious Adams) told me a lot of great things about them. When I went to Big Cat Weekend I was like what he told me was right. He was shooting me straight. Auburn was where it was at. When Coach (Gus) Malzahn took me into his office, I was ready to shake his hand and get it all over with …Something just told me to just wait it out and think more about it and talk to my family. That’s about the only thing that stopped me from committing to Auburn that day.”
Clemson: “It is just like Dooly County. There’s nothing there. That’s family. The college is like a big ‘ol town by itself. When you are in Clemson, it is like no place out. When I went to the cookout a few weeks ago, I just saw how big of a family they were with the dancing and the family atmosphere.”
Florida: “Coach (Jim) McElwain said I needed to be at Florida. He said it would be a good fit for me and my family and my education. He said they would not only be developing me as an athlete but also as a man. That’s what he said to me that really got my attention.”
Florida State: “They have that big medical center on campus. I am trying to go Pre-Med so that’s a big plus for me if I went there. That school has so many big things going for it.”
The one offer he wishes would get was from Oregon. He also shared his feelings on why he never got an offer from UGA and his feelings about that.
“The only thing I can say about that is it is what is,” Clayton said. “They didn’t offer me. I am not going to sweat it. It hurt me kind of, but you have to live your life and keep moving on. I’m not going to let that stop me. I’ve got 32 offers. What is one going to make a difference to me? Come on, now.”
He said the word commitment means something to him, too. He said it reveals a person’s character and how effective a young person is when it comes to making their own decisions. That’s another reason why he has been hesitant to make a commitment. He doesn’t want to have to de-commit after making an early rash decision.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.