Peach state QB high on Clemson

It's one of those stories you hear about all the time. A scout goes to see one player, but finds a diamond in the rough in another.

Now no one is implying that North Gwinnett High School's C.J. Uzomah is an unknown, at least not anymore, but when Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier went to see offensive tackle JaWuan James play, all he kept noticing was this 6-foot-5, 215-pound wide receiver that kept making plays.

As it turns out, this wide receiver will be the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs this fall.

"I guess when they went to look at JaWuan, they kind of noticed me too," Uzomah said.

The Tigers did notice the rising junior and wasted little time inviting him to Junior Day a few weeks back. While at Clemson, Uzomah was invited into head coach Dabo Swinney's office, where the Tigers' skipper offered him a scholarship to play quarterback.

"He really emphasized not just the football aspect, but he wants us to get our degree and to be better men after college, not just better football players," Uzomah recalled. "I remember him saying, ‘Football isn't going to last your whole life. You are going to have to do something after football.'

"I really liked that and I like how he thinks as a coach. It's not just all about football."

And that is going to be important to Uzomah when does make his decision in February of 2011.

"I really want to look at that," he said. "I want to go to a good football school that has a really good program, but I want to go to a school where I can get my degree. That will pull a lot of weight in my decision."

With Vickery Hall and the support people already in place to help student athletes, Clemson appears to have an inside track on Uzomah, who also has offers from Alabama, Georgia and LSU.

"I like how they pretty much give you everything you need to succeed and to get your degree," he said. "If you need help, they have people on staff that can help you. I like how they make you do tutoring your freshman year so you do not slack off."

Uzomah, who averaged 21.8 yards per catch, while grabbing five touchdowns last fall for North Gwinnett, also liked what he saw in Clemson as a whole.


"I like the whole community atmosphere they have there, but it is still a big-time college," he said. "The campus is kind of small and everyone knows everybody. I also like the fact that after a loss, everyone comes onto the field and sings the alma mater."(Scout.com)

"I like the whole community atmosphere they have there, but it is still a big-time college," he said. "The campus is kind of small and everyone knows everybody. I also like the fact that after a loss, everyone comes onto the field and sings the alma mater.

"I like the overall atmosphere. It is very home like."

As for the rest of the visit, Uzomah took a tour of the facilities, including the construction of the new weight room in the WestZone of Memorial Stadium.

"I think it is going to be a major improvement and I think it will make the program even that much better," he said.

Though he says it's not the number one thing a recruit looks for when he visits a school Uzomah said facilities are important and players do take into account what the facilities are like overall.

"I guess it is one of things people look for. They don't want to go to a place that has a lot of old equipment," he said. "You obviously look at that and you notice new and better things.

"It's not the reason why it makes you choose a school, but it will play a part in the decision making."

Clemson offered Uzomah as a quarterback, the only school to do so. Alabama, Georgia and LSU offered as an athlete.

Though Uzomah threw just 13 passes last season as a backup, Swinney and Napier like what they have seen in the future quarterback, plus he fits more into the style of offense the Tigers will start running this season – a zone-read attacking style of offense.

"We run a lot of zone and speed option so I kind of like that," Uzomah said. "I will already be accustomed to that kind of offense so I really like that."

He also likes the idea of playing for Swinney, and was impressed by the way the first-time head coach brought the team together after Tommy Bowden resigned last fall.

"I really like Coach Swinney," Uzomah said. "I really like that he is the head coach. I thought what he did last year was terrific.

"I liked how the players didn't give up and say ‘Let's just fly through this year and worry about next year.' I like how they went and finished off the year and went to a bowl game."

Uzomah and his parents plan to visit Clemson again on April 4 and they plan to attend as many games as they can this fall.

"I really like the atmosphere there," he said.

And Clemson really likes him.

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