It’s rare to see prospects visiting campuses this time of the year but the Florida Gators had a nice surprise on Saturday when defensive end Antonneous Clayton (6-4, 218, Vienna, GA Dooly County) made the trip South to visit Gainesville.
The visit was the first one to Florida for Clayton, who brought his parents along for the ride so they could all meet the Gators staff together.
“It went great man, it was an awesome time,” Clayton said. “When we got there we got to go around the campus and see the new practice facility, see the buildings and the stadium. I got to talk to coach [Chris] Rumph, coach [Geoff] Collins and really all of the coaches.”
A few weeks ago Clayton told Gatorcountry.com that he was excited to visit Florida and he says the visit went better than expected.
“Florida was better than my expectations of the visit,” Clayton said. “Everything was better when I got there. It was just a great visit and it wasn’t just all about athletics. Coach [Jim] McElwain showed me what I could do after I graduate and he was showing me some people that have graduated from Florida.”
Following the great visit to Florida, the defensive end, who holds multiple SEC offers, says that a new school has taken the lead in his recruitment.
“Florida has to be my leader now,” Clayton said. “The visit was that good of a visit. It really helped Florida out a lot. I plan to come back for an official visit and for another visit this summer.”
One of the big reasons the Gators took the lead for Clayton was that he felt a bond with the Florida Gators coaching staff.
“I can really tell that Florida has some really good people and coach Collins and coach Rumph are two really good people,” Clayton said. “They helped me with everything and they really got to know me. During the visit I got to really build a good relationship with all of the coaches there.”
That bond wasn’t just about football and that was especially true when Clayton sat down with Gators head coach Jim McElwain.
“Coach McElwain sat me down and told me that I will graduate if I choose Florida,” Clayton said. “He said that if I choose Florida I will make an impact on society today and that I will be successful as a person and as a player.”
Defensive line coach Chris Rumph had the tough task of talking to Clayton after he met with McElwain, but Rumph kept the conversation to football and how Clayton can help the Gators out.
“Coach Rumph was telling me where I would be at if I committed to Florida,” Clayton said. “He was telling me how they would use me on the defense. He said that he sees me fitting in where No. 14 [Alex McCalister] is at now. He said that he would have me in the six point stance outside and dropping back in coverage.”
Next up for Clayton was a meeting with defensive coordinator Geoff Collins who sold the point of how big of a need Clayton was to the Florida Gators.
“I had a good talk with coach Collins afterwards,” Clayton said. “He said that I really need to be there at Florida and that I’m a top priority to them. He said that my athletic ability is something that would make me a great asset to the Florida Gators.”
Not only was the defensive end impressed by Saturday’s visit but Clayton’s family was also impressed.
“My mom was blown away by the visit,” Clayton said. “My dad liked it too because they have never seen anything like Florida before. They were really blown away by everything.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Clayton says that his top five schools are Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee but Florida definitely pushed itself up front after a great visit on Saturday afternoon. The Gators will continue to push hard for Clayton as the summer comes along.