Clemson held its second Junior Day of the year over the weekend, with several high-profile targets on hand.
One of those players was 2024 OL Casey Poe, who was making his first trip to Clemson. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound prospect out of Lindale made the trip all the way from Texas, unsure of what to expect.
“Being my first time on campus, I didn’t know what to expect,” Poe told All Clemson Tigers. “Driving in it was a weird experience. We were just traveling and we’re like, where’s the campus and we’re just kind of driving through these backwoods and stuff. Then it’s just kind of like a little slice of heaven opened up and it was a beautiful campus.”
One of the first things to stand out was Death Valley, where the Tigers play their home games.
“We saw the stadium, and it was just a massive stadium right there in the middle of… like some backwoods,” Poe said. “Then we started driving through the campus. It was just really pretty and beautiful this time of the year. Then we got there and talked to the coaches and stuff. But it was really cool to be able to see it for the first time.”
It was a trip that he was very much looking forward to, seeing as not only his family, but his entire town, have long been admirers of what Dabo Swinney is doing at Clemson.
“Clemson has always been a school that honestly my entire town has always looked up to,” Poe said. “My family looks up to them. I have a bunch of high school coaches in my family and so they know the way the coaching world works. They’ve always been a huge fan of coach Swinney but my head coach, coach Cochran, is always just kind of pushing his his ideas and stuff with our team. Because his core values really line up with us. He’s really big on family, he’s really big on keeping the team together, and really hard work. Which is three things that we are extremely high on at Lindale.”
Poe was also looking forward to finally getting to spend some time with the Tigers’ new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. The 4-star offensive lineman was on Riley’s radar while he was at TCU, even visiting the Horned Frogs for a game last season, and this weekend finally gave the two a chance to start really getting to know one another a little better.
“Getting to meet him yesterday, really just getting to shake his hand, hang out with him most of the day and meet his family, he’s just he’s a really good coach,” Poe said. “He’s a down to earth person. He’s not the kind of coach that thinks because they’re in the role they are, they’re better than everybody. He’s just a coach that wants the best for everybody at Clemson and really wants to win and really wants to develop people and players but especially the people aspect.”
But the highlight of the visit was actually coming away with an offer in tow.
“To get that offer was it was really big,” Poe said. “It was cool. It was a great feeling.”
“Coach Austin just sat me down, he was like, listen, being able to meet you in person; he loved the way I looked, loved the way I talked and just loved me as a person. He was super excited to extend the offer to me, and he was just hoping that I would definitely keep Clemson mind. Which I definitely will.”
Another highlight of the visit was getting to watch the team practice, which allowed him to see offensive line coach Thomas Austin in his element, coaching his players.
He was able to see enough to know that he wants to schedule a return visit at some point before making any decision. However, Poe was unsure of exactly when he would get back.
When it comes to making a decision, Poe is looking at announcing a commitment sometime before the start of his senior season. That means he has the rest of the spring and the summer to take more visits.
What he is looking for, though, is simple. The talented offensive lineman is looking for the perfect fit from a culture standpoint. And Poe wants to be pushed. Not only on the field but off the field, as well.
“I’m a huge relationship person, so whenever I walk on campus, I want to know that I’m going to be loved by the coaching staff and they’re also going to push me because you know it can’t be all sunshine and unicorn farts all the time. It’s got to be some really hard coaching. A lot of a lot of building back up after the coaching and during the coaching. Also with the players. If the players don’t love the coaching staff then I believe that nothing is gonna work. Besides that, I want to be developed as a as a person and as a player, as a man of my faith. Those are really the big things for me.”
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