Clemson set their goal high for a 2023 quarterback starting out pursuing the one lauded as the nation’s best, Arch Manning of New Orleans. Manning made a visit to Clemson last summer, but the two sides apparently didn’t connect, and Manning has moved on to others. Forced to do as well, Dabo Swinney and quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter eventually locked in on Christopher Vizzina (6-4 207) of Birmingham.
Based on his offers and visits, Vizzina is no slouch himself having earned a spot in the Elite 11 Finals this summer. And Tuesday afternoon he announced he will play his college football at Clemson. He chose the Tigers over Auburn, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia and Ole Miss.
Last season Vizzina passed for 2065 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he rushed for 600 yards and 15 scores.
“His decision-making skills and abilities are top-notch. It’s not just on the football field, it’s in every area of his life,” said Matthew Forrester, Vizzina’s head coach at Briarwood Christian Academy. “It really carries over where he doesn’t even think about what he’s supposed to do, he just does it, because he is so used to doing the right thing. He knows the reads, he knows the progressions, and then bam. Now, I know there are a lot of kids that are like that, but when you’re 6-4, 209 pounds and can sling it, it makes it quite different.”
Forrester added that Vizzina, while already exhibiting great skills, is still in that developmental stage and will only get better.
“He is young for his age. He is still just 16 years old. When he was 14 years old, he started for us as a freshman and won 11 games and then the next year he started as a sophomore and won nine games for us,” Forrester said. “And so, he won 20 high school football games before he could ever drive. Since he’s so young for his age, I noticed him when he was in 8th grade, and he was just throwing. And I said, ‘That’s a natural motion.’ And I watched him all summer, and the touch he had on the ball was great. He didn’t try to throw the ball 100 miles per hour because in certain situations he doesn’t have to. He has great touch and feel and knows when to put air and mustard on it. He’s been in the weight room and the arm just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I knew when he was young, he had great touch, and when he was 14 throwing to 19-year-olds, he had a good arm, but as he’s matured and grown, it’s just gotten stronger, but he’s also kept that touch. But this past summer there was that jump when that competitive nature welled up inside of him.”
Vizzina made two visits to Clemson last week, Monday for a practice and Saturday for the spring game. He also was in last summer, so he got a complete dose of what Clemson is about as a football program and a university.
“What Coach Swinney and his entire staff has done has been remarkable. The consistency they have had in winning is big – if you get to choose where you want to go, you want to pick a program that has the ability to win a National Championship,” Forrester said. “So, the fact that Clemson has that every year, the ability to be in the National Championship conversation is big. But more than that, it’s just the culture that they have created. You go there, and in some ways, it feels like Disney World, because everybody is happy. Everybody has a smile on their face and is encouraging and they say hello to you. That atmosphere is really neat and special and I think they do a great job of developing the whole person.”
Vizzina gives Clemson two commitments for 2023. WR Nathaniel Joseph of Miami has been committed for months. And odds are the Tigers will add a third Wednesday. They have been projected to land TE Reid Mikeska of Texas when he announces at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.