Although it is not 100% certain that Florida transfer Antonneous Clayton will be trying to get through the Clemson offensive line on August 29th, it seems likely that he will receive a hardship waiver from the NCAA due to a family medical situation. This would be a godsend for the Jackets defense (and offense), as no returning defensive linemen from the past season had a sack or tackle for loss.
Coming out of high school from Dooly County, Clayton was ranked as the number 27 overall recruit in the nation and the number 4 overall recruit from Georgia. Clayton was recruited extensively by Geoff Collins for the Gators, and that helped lay the groundwork for him coming to Tech just a few short years later.
At Florida, Clayton failed to make much of an impact. In his freshman year he was only able to play in 4 games, recording 3 tackles and a fumble recovered before injuries derailed his season. Sophomore year, Clayton played in 9 games, but only recorded stats in 4 of those 9. He finished the year with 7 total tackles and 1 sack. Clayton was redshirted his junior year and appeared in two games, with one tackle against Idaho.
Clayton’s weight was also an issue at Florida, however he is now listed at 255 pounds on his official profile for Georgia Tech, and will be looking to keep that weight and possibly gain more as he works towards hopefully playing in the fall.
Yes, the stats don’t look too appealing. However, Clayton brings something that most of the current linemen do not have, experience. Not to bash Georgia Tech for a second, but there is no way that Florida doesn’t have better football training facilities than Tech. It’s the SEC for crying out loud. Spending the past three years practicing with and against very good lineman and playing against mostly SEC teams will help Clayton a lot as he transitions to the (sometimes easier) ACC. Clayton also brings with him enormous potential, as evidenced by his extremely high national recruiting ranking and his high school film.
I’m not trying to say that Clayton will win the Heisman Trophy, but I am trying to say that Clayton will provide valuable upgrades to the defensive line and has a chance to make a major impact in the future.
Clayton might not play this season, but even if he doesn’t he’ll still be a newbie to watch for as he’ll provide valuable leadership experience to a young defensive line and team as a whole.
70 days until Toe Meets Leather!