Chad Simmons

Clayton understands his role with Gators

The entire defensive staff and head coach Jim McElwain made it over to Vienna (GA) Saturday, in the middle of an official visit weekend on the Florida campus, to check in on one of the biggest targets in the Florida 2016 recruiting class. Antonneous Clayton understands full well how important he is to the Gators.

Florida head coach Jim McElwian, defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, linebacker coach Randy Shannon, and defensive line coach Chris Rumph all were able to spend some time with Clayton Saturday.

“It went really well,” Clayton said. “I got a chance to sit down to talk about a few things and also a chance to really just clear up on what’s up for the road ahead.  They were just letting me know they really want me and an emphasis on how important I am to the class.”

The staff took time out from an official visit weekend where they were hosting nine official visitors to fly up and see Clayton who has been recruited heavily by other programs who are having a hard time hearing no from the young man.

“I don’t know how many times I have said it on Twitter that I’m done with other schools and they keep trying,” Clayton said. “It gets real annoying honestly, and it really turns me off. It tells me that my word doesn’t mean anything.

The staff wanted to have a nice leisurely time with Clayton and had a simple message.

“They were just telling me to really put on for Florida and want me to be my best,” he said.

Clayton posted the picture above on social media channel Twitter and a few Florida State fans got worked up about it. As usual, he playfully put them in their place.

“It isn’t really anything serious,” he said about the back and forth on Twitter. “Just don’t come at me -- you know. Yeah, I have a little fun with it.”

So what makes Clayton so coveted? Well, he was finely able to get much of the attention he deserved when he showed out at the Under Armour All-American week in Orlando in December. Going against the top players in the country, Clayton continuously used his speed and quickness along with some timely power to dominate the competition all week long.

Was he surprised at how well he did?

“Yes and No,” he responded after a few seconds of thinking about it. “The reason I say yes is because I had a chip on my shoulder. I had a lot of people doubt me that I didn’t play against good competition in high school. I say no because I knew I was going to do good, just not that good. With all that talent out there, going against those guys for three days, I expected it to be a dog fight with them. But I practiced on my craft a little bit before I went up there and I did well during the whole week.”

He described the physical reasons he has produced at this level.  

“The thing that makes me different form most defensive ends, I am real athletic and have a tremendous first step,” he said. “Also I can turn my speed into power upon impact.  I have good hand coordination at this level.”

As for his freshman plans, he isn’t holding back there.  

“I want to come in and make first team All-SEC and make a name for myself,” he said. “I’m not just all talk. I just want to prove myself. I want people to know I can compete in the SEC.”

Clayton will have a signing ceremony at his school and one hat will be on the table, that of the Florida Gators. He says that ceremony will be at 10 a.m. at his school.

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