It sounds as though Antonneous Clayton could play a couple of different positions when he arrives at Florida, maybe a RUSH end which would require him to be a pass rusher first and a stand up linebacker at times. Maybe he could play outside linebacker with his quickness and unique physical skills.
“He’s got a little length to him, he’s about 6-3, to 6-3.5,” Coach Hughes said via phone late on Wednesday after Clayton committed to the gators. “He’s probably about 218 or 222 depending on what time of day it is. He’s got really long arms and outstanding lateral speed as well. We’ve played him with his hand on the ground and standing up, so he’s very versatile in what he can do. He’s quick off the ball and his closing speed is pretty darn good.”
“Looking at his family and his frame, I think you will easily see 25-30 pounds fairly quick of muscle put on him. He has a good starting point. He’s not a weak kid. When you have an opportunity to eat 3-4-5 times a day and eat real well, it has to be so much better than this school lunch program we have here. The strength and conditioning is so much more advanced from what we can do for him here.”
Hughes believes that the four-star Clayton will be a menace at the next level and grow into an absolute beast.
“I think his best football is probably ahead of him,” Hughes said. “We come from a very small school and small coaching staff. We don’t have the resources that the larger schools have. I think his best football is ahead of him because of what he will be exposed to with the nutrition and strength and conditioning program he will be involved in at Florida.”
Hughes says he is very familiar with the defensive staff at Florida and knows he can trust that his pupil is in good hands.
“I think he’ll learn a lot from a great defensive staff,” Hughes said. “I am very familiar with Coach Collins and Coach Rumph. I went through the recruiting process with Coach Rumph when he was at Alabama.
“I trust that the staff will treat my guy the right way and I am sure they will earn his respect through hard work and make sure he will do what he is supposed to do.
“Coach Collins has handled this recruitment. He’s a Georgia born guy. He actually played under some of my friends. I am an older guy and have been coaching a long time. Geoff isn’t that old and we have a lot of mutual friends that he was involved with coming through school and into his high school career. I played at Georgia Tech myself and I know he’s worked there once a twice. He’s an outstanding coach and has done a heck of a job recruiting Antonneous.
"Coach Rumph I have known for several years and he spent a lot of time down here three years ago when Montraveous Adams was being recruited. He and Kirby Smart headlined that up. I got to know him real well. I’ve watched him coach and seen him on the practice fields when I have visited universities. I think Florida has things under control with those two guys defensively.”
Hughes believes Rumph and Collins will find the right fit for his young star.
“He’s a pass rusher first and foremost,” Hughes said of Clayton. “He can really get off and go and come off that edge. He can also drop. There is so much zone blitzing and all of that right now with these exotic defenses against the spread offenses I think he can drop in coverage as well.
“It’s a good fit for him the way they play. The way they set their defense up and the way they coach those kids up down there, it’s obvious they are doing a lot right. I think their scheme and his athleticism will emerge together pretty well.”
No doubt that Hughes has high praise for Clayton on the field, but he says the young man is a great character guy off the field as well.
“He’s a real fine kid,” Hughes said. “He’s humble. All of this kind of happened really quickly with him. H started getting attention real quick and offers came in over a couple of week period with 25 offers. That kind of got his head spinning, but I think that would of any kid and I think he’s handled it well. His family has been very involved.
“He’s working hard on his academics and barring anything we don’t see coming, he will be fine. He’ll have things in order academically and be able to come down in early summer and get to work.”
Coach Hughes is glad that Clayton went ahead and made the choice of Florida public.
“It’s hard going through this process and difficult on families as well. Now, making this decision it will probably free him up to play a little better. He’s already a great player, but with this off his mind it might free him up to really concentrate on what we’re doing. We are looking forward to finishing the season and really proud for him and his family and appreciate the University of Florida for giving him the opportunity.