Southwest Mississippi C.C. prospect Cliff Fernandez is still working his way into the tight end position, but his recent progress is beginning to pay dividends.
The 6-foot-5, 257-pounder arrived at Southwest Mississippi as a quarterback, and spent the bulk of his freshman campaign transitioning before seeing the field in the final three games. During his sophomore season, Fernandez has progressed, recently netting a Power 5 offer from Iowa State.
“[Stan Eggen] came down and he saw me really in the spring, but I didn’t really play much last year because I was a quarterback at first,” Fernandez said of his recruitment. “After the Pearl River game, which was probably about three or four weeks ago, he’s been watching me the whole season, but after that game they really just came and made up their mind that they wanted to offer me."
The Iowa State offer joined smaller offers from the likes of Alabama State and Northwestern State, but other schools have begun to take notice. New Mexico will visit the tight end this week while South Florida and Southern Mississippi have also recently gotten involved.
Fernandez has 20 receptions for 188 yards in eight games this season, lining up at tight end, in the slot and as an H-back. His skillset is still evolving, but Iowa State likes the potential he has displayed in 10-plus games at the position.
“They told me they really like the qualities that I have and they said they’d really love to use me the same way they use me here. He said he’d like for me to be a threat in their passing game as well,” Fernandez said. “I feel like I’ve done pretty good [transitioning], but I feel like I’m going to be way better. I just have to work. My skillset, I can do hands-down, I can line up as an H-back, I can line up in the slot and I can do one-on-ones. I have great hands. Nine times out of 10, if the ball comes my way, it’s caught.”
Fernandez, who will be a mid-year transfer in December with two years to play two, will make his first official visit this weekend to Iowa State. The sophomore hinted that the Cyclones will likely be on commitment watch during his visit.
“My decision may be made this weekend,” Fernandez said of his timeline. “If I was to commit this weekend, I know where I’m going, that’s where I’m going. I’m still going to take the [other four] visits [though].”