UM Pulls Even For OL

Miami (Fla.) Edison High has been one of the state's premier programs over the last two seasons and one of the major reasons for their offensive success is the play of offensive tackle Jacky Claude.

At 6-foot-3 1/2 and 285 pounds, Claude is enjoying his senior season.

"We really came together after the Killian game," he said of his 5-1 Edison team. "If we beat Jackson Thursday, we're in good shape for the district."

Claude has 15 pancake blocks in six games. He's hoping to get many more later in the season, which he hopes will be when he really stands out.

"I worked real hard over the summer and into preseason to get my weight down so I could be quicker and better conditioned," he said. "I was over 300 and now I'm down to around 285. I feel so much quicker. I see those 6-6 and 6-7 guys and I don't think they can move their feet and pull and trap like I can."

Edison head coach Corey Bell is high on his left tackle, saying he's further along than former Edison lineman Carlos Joseph at that age.

"As good as Carlos was and is now, I think Jacky is right there, maybe even further along," Bell said. "Jacky's done the things Carlos did for us."

Those are some of the reasons why Claude is being recruited by major programs from all over.

"I have a bunch of offers," he said. "Ohio State's sort of been my leader since the beginning but now UM is coming on real strong and right now, they're neck and neck."

The talented lineman said the Hurricanes entered the picture just recently.

"I didn't think they were recruiting me but then Coach Kehoe was at one of our practices and then he called me on the phone," he said. "We talked for about 45 minutes. He said they've been recruiting me but we just haven't been talking much and he said that's about to change."

Claude said he wasn't sure how much it was going to change until he received an interesting phone call last Saturday morning.

"The phone rang and it was Coach Kehoe," he said. "It was just a couple hours before their game against Florida State and he was telling me that he was thinking about me and they're very interested in me. I watched the game and it was pretty good for Miami. They played great."

Claude said he's not sure whether he has an offer from the Hurricanes or not, but knows they're definitely interested.

"I don't know whether they have (offered) or not," he said. "Coach Kehoe is definitely interested though. I'm gonna take a visit down there, probably with Richard (Clebert)."

Speaking of Clebert, Claude said there's little doubt as to who his favorite is.

"Man, Richard is all about UM," he said. "That's all he's thinking about. It would be nice for us to stay together. One of the things about going to Ohio State is that's a long way from home. UM is right down the road."

Claude said in addition to the Hurricanes and Buckeyes, he'll visit three other programs.

"I'll also go to N.C. State, Auburn, and Florida State," he said. "I have Ohio State scheduled for December 5. N.C. State is for December 12. I've already been to Ohio State but it was for an unofficial visit."

When asked about the visit, the first thing from Claude's mouth was about the weather.

"I know it was pretty cold in the morning," he laughed.

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