OT Fletcher Westphal (6-8 330) of Leesburg, VA was back at Clemson Wednesday for a fourth time, and he went there with one particular goal in mind. He’d seen plenty of things about the program and the school, but the one thing he’d never done was meet head coach Dabo Swinney in person.
“The main reason I went to Clemson, I had never met Coach Swinney. He had stopped by our school one time, and this was my fourth visit there,” Westphal said. “It was a must to meet and talk with Coach Swinney. We did that. Sitting in O-line meetings, watch the scrimmage itself, all of that was fantastic.”
The Tigers staged their second major scrimmage of the spring, and that gave Westphal a good chance to watch how offensive line coach Thomas Austin handles his guys.
“Even when a mistake was made or something minor, Coach Austin was calm and collected and he would walk through it with his offensive linemen,” Westphal said. “He didn’t need to blow his top off to get his point across to his offensive linemen.”
Westphal and Austin have talked a lot through the process, so Westphal has a clear picture of how he fits into what Austin is doing in recruiting his offensive line targets.
“Clemson right now is very heavy on the interior of the O-line. They need more tackles, that’s what Coach Austin has told me,” he said. “I have the reach and the speed. The overall improvement from my sophomore film to my junior film was way more than enough to solidify that hey, I (Austin) made the right choice in getting this dude offered.”
Westphal is in the midst of a 12-school spring tour. Along with Clemson, he has been to Florida State, Florida, Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee and Georgia. He will visit Auburn on Friday and has trips coming up to NC State, Arkansas, Kansas and Washington.
His next step in the process, after the visits are completed, is to narrow down his top ten to a top five. Clemson stands a good shot to make that short list and get an official visit the first weekend in June.
“After this last visit, after meeting with P.A.W Journey, academics, going around campus one more time, watching practice, talking with coaches and all that, I think Clemson definitely stands high in my book right now,” Westphal said. “I’m figuring out a short list as I go through my long list of visits. I finish the visits, create a top five, schedule my officials and we’ll go on from there. If I can get all five officials in, I’m going to try to make my decision (this summer) and will be home free during the season. I haven’t scheduled any officials. I won’t do that until I make my top five because obviously the top five will be the five OVs.”
The top ten list Westphal released a few weeks back was comprised of Clemson, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Florida, Michigan State, Georgia, Washington, Arkansas, Oregon and Tennessee.