CUTigers spoke to Lenoir-Hibriten HS (NC) outside linebacker Darius Lipford after the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas Monday afternoon practice.
"It's really a privilege and an honor to get to be playing this game," he said. "Of all the players in the state, only 44 are chosen. It's a real big honor."
Tigertown will host Lipford for an official a week before he heads to Chapel Hill (Jan. 15). He went to Duke, where he committed as a junior, on an official during the fall.
"After (visiting North Carolina), I think I'll wrap it up," he said.
Lipford's only trip to Clemson came this football season when Wake Forest was in town. (Hale McGranahan/CUTigers.com)
"It was a real nice experience. There's a lot of tradition, a lot of great players, fans and there's a great coaching staff," he said.
He's got an idea of what to look for when he's back on campus next month.
"I want to learn more about the campus and the school--get to hang out with some of their players more," Lipford said.
Clemson has an in that could help make him a Tiger. Lipford's father played with Clemson defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks at Western Carolina.
"Dan Brooks came up to my house last week and we talked. Everything went well," Lipford said. "He said he'd take care of me down there, even though he's not my position coach."
Coach Dabo Swinney has also made a good impression.
"He's got a good head on his shoulders and knows what he's talking about," Lipford said. "He's a real religious guy--I respect him for that."
His commitment to North Carolina "feels right" for a number of different reasons.
"The fans, being in state--getting to represent my state," Lipford said. "They have a good tradition there, sports wise, just having good sports programs, in general. It's not too far from home, but it's not too close.
"I know a lot of people who go there. It's a public school, real big. I love socializing and everything. I think that's a good fit for me."
After the first day of two-a-day practices at Dorman HS, Lipford thinks the North Carolina team's defense is coming together. He's playing on the weak side at outside linebacker, walking up to the line in a 9-technique.
"I walk out on the receiver, kind of play multiple positions in one," he said. "I did kind of the same thing in high school; except for it was a 3-5. It's the same principles, but a different defense."
Scout.com rates Lipford with two stars as the nation's No. 143 outside linebacker prospect.