Hard Working Prospect Interested In Tigers

This Peach State defensive prospect keeps a very busy shedule, but he has had time to check out the Auburn Tigers.

Barnesville, Ga.--Lamar County Comprehensive High standout defensive lineman Clifford Respress, who spent all football season at practice each week night, playing games on Friday night and then working hard on Saturdays as well, didn't get much time to check out potential college choices.

"I have been working a lot so on Saturdays I work with my Dad with our tree service," Respress explains. "On no, I don't enjoy it. It is hard work, but it teaches me what to value. I appreciate him for making me work, but most times it is sun up to sun down on Saturdays because that is the only time he pretty much gives me.

"During the season--after the games on Friday nights you don't get to go out and hang out or anything," he adds. "You come home and go to sleep to wake up on Saturday morning because if you are ready or not it's coming."

Despite his overloaded schedule that also includes school, homework and some sort of a social life, the current Duke commitment did make it down to Auburn for an unofficial visit to see the Tigers take on Georgia two weeks ago. "That was nice, I think that sums it up," he says. "That was really exciting, that was--whew! I felt a lot of energy when I was in that stadium and I wasn't even on the field."

The 6-4 1/2, 235-pounder adds that he got to enjoy the regular campus visit activities. "I talked to (offensive line) Coach (Hugh) Nall, my recruiting coach," Respress notes. "He talked to me a little bit. I think he wants me to come for an official in January. I saw Tiger Walk and that was really amazing. I don't know how many fans there were, but there was a whole bunch of them, and they were just there to watch them walk up to the stadium."

Even with the impressive things he saw on the football field, Respress, who adds that academics are very important to him, says that there are other things about Auburn he is looking forward to taking a look at on his next trip. "I am still eager to see their class environment," the senior notes. "I haven't really seen the campus as a whole. I have seen the athletic facilities and I have seen the athletic complex a couple of times. It is nice and I believe it is going to be a real nice campus. I am pretty sure an Auburn degree could help me along in life just as much as a Duke degree, but a Duke degree is still a Duke degree."

Clifford Respress

And the big defensive lineman says that he is planning on heading back to the Plains to check out the academic atmosphere even though he is not sure when he will take his official visit. "Yeah, I am still committed to Duke. But, I know I am coming to Auburn and that is pretty solid as a visit."

On the gridiron it was a tough year for Respress and Lamar Comprehensive. His team went 3-7 and failed to qualify for the playoffs, and he notes that opposing teams really tried to avoid him. "I am not sure of my defensive stats, but I know I had a lot of assists because they wouldn't run the ball at me," the defender explains. "So, I did a lot of running around. I had like two sacks. I had a rough season as far as getting any action."

He adds that his new position made it even easier for opposing offenses to scheme away from him. "I played defensive tackle," Respress says. "I was the strongest so I had to go in there. It was okay, but I felt like I didn't get as much action in there as I would have at defensive end. I only played linebacker for like two games."

As for which position he would like to play on the next level, Respress explains that he could handle either one. "I am not sure which one I want to play," he notes. "I am not sure if I want them to get me real fast and get me real strong or get me real strong and get me real big so I can hold up the middle. I am not sure. Whatever, they want me to do I am pretty much for it."

Now, with football season behind him, Respress has decided to take on another sport for the winter and spring, but unlike his first three years of high school it is not basketball, baseball or track.

"Right now it is just swim practice," he explains. "This is my first year of doing it and it is great at keeping me in shape. I am going to swim the 50-free. Just that one, the 100--I am pretty sure I could swim it, but I am not ready for that yet. This is my first year, and football shape is a lot different than being in swim shape."

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