Clemson is bringing in its A-list of recruits next month, with numerous top prospects in the 2024 class set to arrive on campus during the first weekend of June. One of those is a priority target on the offensive line that recently placed the Tigers among his top schools.
Leesburg (VA) OT Fletcher Westphal (6-8 330) announced a top-five on April 30th, placing Clemson in a group that also included Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas, and Florida.
Westphal will hit the road for a busy month with visits planned to Clemson on June 2nd-4th, Georgia on June 9th-11th, Florida on June 16th-18th, and Arkansas on June 23rd-25th. He has visited all of his contenders previously, and the upcoming trips will give him another chance to evaluate each program.
“Since I’ve been to each school 2-3 times, I’ll be paying close attention to the types of recruits that are on the visit with me and get to know the current roster since we could be teammates,” Westphal explained. “Basically, I’m going to try to envision myself at each school’s culture as an athlete.”
Offensive line coach Thomas Austin and head coach Dabo Swinney have both visited Westphal at his high school in recent months, making sure that Westphal knows he is a priority for the Tigers.
“I could be a part of something special at Clemson,” Westphal said of the message from the Clemson staff. “I was honored to get one of those coveted offers. My relationship with Clemson has been great. Coach Swinney visited my school in January, and I met with him in April. Coach Austin stays in contact. He’s visited my school a few times and plans are already rolling for my official visit. Definitely makes me feel like a priority.”
What has Westphal noticed that makes Dabo Swinney’s program unique?
“Clemson’s winning record, program stability, team culture, and education are a powerful combination and very appealing to me,” the Virgina native remarked. “My parents say, ‘Words are just words, but actions really speak at higher volumes.’ This is where the top schools like Clemson are separating themselves from the pack. From communicating information about the school, to the football program, to the PAW Journey, they’re responsive and consistent whether I’m on campus or not. This is the culture Coach Swinney has created. It’s also impressive to see Tristan Leigh, who is from Northern Virginia too, doing well. It’s motivation for me.”
Westphal plans on being ready to announce a commitment in late July after taking visits to his finalists. And when he’s ready to make that decision, he’ll have plenty of reference points to consider.
“To keep the focus the focus, the thing the thing, and to be consistent,” Westphal mentioned in laying out his priorities. “I have a spreadsheet with different categories where everything is ranked based on what I’ve researched or learned from the coaches during my visits. It really separated my top-five from the pack. It gets a lot harder from here. My development on the field, the culture, and stability are important to me.”