Defensive end Antonneous Clayton (6-4, 218, Vienna, GA Dooly County) is one of the top defensive ends in the country and he’s already a member of the Florida Gators recruiting class of 2016.
Last week Clayton had the opportunity to compete at the Under Armour All-American game and the defensive end dominated the whole week from his defensive end position.
“I think I got MVP of every single day,” Clayton said. “It boosted my confidence a lot. I could say I came out kind of iffy about it, kind of more controlled cause I’ve been going against these guys for all week, they kind of know how I play now, get that jump on me. So I kind of had to be careful, kind of complacent a little bit on my moves, kind of slower cause these guys are already fast so I gotta get a jump on them.
Former NFL pro-bowler Lavar Arrington and other NFL coaches were working with the Florida Gators recruiting commit during the week on his technique and Clayton shared what those tips were.
“Most of the advice, they’re just wanting me to set the edge better,” Clayton said. “They want me to use my speed more, trying to get around the edge because everything else was good, my technique, everything else was almost perfect…but my D-line coach [said] ‘You’re already quick. You’re like the quickest guy we got so only thing you need to do is set that edge and you get a sack. And as far as from watching practice, that’s what I did and got all the sacks.”
Now that Clayton has defeated everyone in Orlando, the Gators commit is planning on staring in the Swamp next fall.
“I’m absolutely coming in with the mindset to play as a freshman,” Clayton said. “I don’t care about any other defensive end that’s in front of me. I’m going to give those credit where it’s due and we’re going to play together and win together next year.”
Clayton should feel confident about his chances to play early as the defensive end is a speed rusher and that’s exactly what Florida Gators defensive coordinator Geoff Collins is looking for.
“One thing I like about Coach Collins,” he said. “ It’s very exciting by the way, one thing I like about Coach Collins he was talking about [Alex] McCalister when they had won that Tennessee game, one play he just told Alex, “Alex just to go get him’ and then he got him and got the sack.”
The defensive end also has a great relationship with Florida Gators defensive line coach Chris Rumph as the two parties talk a lot.
“Coach Rumph is very, very energetic guy,” Clayton said. “He’s very humble. He just expects the best out of all his players. He’s a really chill guy. Basically what he just told me was just enjoy your high school years because once you get here you’re here. So I kind of took that to heart like what’s he mean by that. I guess what he means by that is we’re going to work you when you get here.
Last week was glance into the future as Clayton got the chance to room with a fellow Florida Gators recruiting commit and also hang out with other commits in Orlando.
“Being with Chauncey [Gardner], Josh [Hammond], Brett [Heggie] — you know Brett’s my roommate by the way,” Clayton said. “He’s a very cool guy. Got a chance to bond with him this week—Chauncey all those guys see what it’s like, how those guys are really like in person, personality wise and all of them are pretty good.
The Florida Gators recruiting commits all were recruiting other guys to join them in Gainesville and Clayton had one guy in particular he was after.
“Shavar [Manuel], I’m pretty sure Shavar is going to come in and just commit soon,” Clayton said of who he’s recruiting. “But as far as other commits, I’m not gonna force anybody to come to a school. Like I say all the time, you’re gonna get left behind if you don’t come to Florida.”
Clayton had the chance to play beside Manuel most of the week in Orlando and he broke down the defensive tackles game for Gator Country.
“Shavar is a really good defensive tackle,” Clayton said. “He had a lot of moves going inside, beating the 3 technique and as far as, he’s been a really dominant player. I’m really impressed with his performance this week.
Before Clayton left Orlando he had a message for Florida Gators fans about the next few years in the Swamp.
“That defense going to be nasty next couple of years,” Clayton said. “Just the defense as a whole, that’s how the whole school gonna be is going to be nasty.”