2025 SAF Jontae Gilbert (6-1 185) of Atlanta made his second visit of the month to Clemson last Saturday to watch the Tigers play North Carolina. He was also there for the Notre Dame game. This time he had his dad with him, which was an important step in the recruiting process for him and the Tigers.
‘The difference was the relationship I have with the coaches when I went back there this time,” Gilbert said. “We’ve been talking ever since I came down there for the first time. We’ve just hit it off ever since then, and I’m building a relationship with them. I felt way more comfortable this time than the first time with the coaching staff. And my dad hit it off with coach (Mickey) Conn, the safeties coach who is recruiting me right now. They are both from Georgia and they really hit it off and my dad said I could fit in their system very well.”
Gilbert, of course, also had the chance to talk again with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
“This time, he said I can’t wait for me to get there,” Gilbert said. “They really love me as a player and my character. They love my film, and I could make a big impact when I first get there if I keep progressing as a player. They see me playing safety. They turn my tape on, and they see I can blitz. They see me as a nickel guy. I can play the box well and cover guys good. “I feel like I would fit in the system very well. At my high school, they’ve got me doing the same thing, playing corner, playing safety, playing nickel, covering the slot and blitzing off the edge.”
The former Ohio State commit has not issued a new top five, but when he does sometime next year, Clemson is assured of being in there.
“They are a top three school for sure,” Gilbert said. “South Carolina, University of Southern California and Clemson.”
South Carolina has been involved with Gilbert for an extended period now with Shane Beamer, Torian Gray and Clayton White all involved with his recruitment.
“My guys, I have a great relationship with coach Beamer, coach Gray and coach White,” he said. “I love those guys. “I’ve been in a relationship with them ever since the springtime of my freshman year. I know them very well. They call every week, three times a week, so that’s good. I have a great relationship with them.”
The way things are developing right now with his recruitment, Gilberts decision might very well boil down to the Tigers and Gamecocks.
“I’ve got a good relationship with both staffs, and they are close to home, so those two right now are pulling away,” Gilbert said. “There’s no number one. I’m debating between those three schools. No number one right now. You’ll most definitely see those schools in my top five when I drop a top five.”
Texas, where his father played college football, and Colorado are two others he’s considering largely because his father is friendly with members of both staffs.
Gilbert had planned to attend this Saturday’s Palmetto Bowl in Columbia, but a health matter with one of his family members might prevent him from attending. If he were to make it, which side would he be pulling for?
“Great question,” Gilbert said with a laugh. “Since it’s going to be at Willie-Brice Stadium, I’ve got to go Gamecocks.”