Charlotte, N.C. --- North Carolina might not be one of Jacobe Clement’s early offers, but the 6-foot, 171-pound cornerback, who visited UNC in March, lists the Tar Heels among his initial favorites.
“I think Jacobe is a true corner – you don’t find that very often,” South Mecklenburg head coach Rocky White said. “He’s got great feet, great instincts for the ball, he’s a good leaper – all the attributes you look for in a corner. He’s extremely long.”
Clement began his prep career cross-town at Mallard Creek, but sat out his freshman year nursing an injury. He also didn’t play football in the seventh or eighth grades like most players in Charlotte.
With that said, it’s impressive that Clement not only made South Meck’s 2014 varsity squad, which included several Power 5 recruits, but he also earned a starting role at cornerback. He ended the season with 30 tackles, three interceptions, and 10 pass breakups.
“The first few games, that was just instincts and going off of what I knew,” Clement said.
White expects bigger things from Clement this coming season – and beyond.
“With him and John Brannon, we have the two best corners in Charlotte,” White said. “We’re real excited about having those guys.”
Taking advantage of the luxury of having two quality cornerbacks, White is altering his defensive scheme. South Meck will use more press cover-four (like Michigan State) and man coverages.
“We’re going to put those guys on the most dangerous people, which gives us the opportunity to go nine-on-nine [elsewhere],” White said. “We’re going to do a lot more with them now that we have a year under Jacobe’s belt.”
According to White, after NC State offered Clement during a junior day earlier this year his recruiting stock has skyrocketed.
“Everybody that comes through asks about Jacobe,” White said.
After NC State, Clement added offers from Charlotte and Miami (Ohio). North Carolina has also shown significant interest.
“I think [UNC] is real close to offering,” White said. “Coach [Gunter] Brewer brought Coach [Gene] Chizik by to just look at [Clement] and obviously he passes the eye test.”
When Clement attended UNC’s final junior day, Chizik was out-of-town tending to a family situation. His absence didn’t diminish the visit’s impact on Clement.
“It was nice because I was just expecting to see the campus [and] go to the locker room like at NC State,” Clement said. “But when they had the spring scrimmage that made the visit better, because we got to meet the players and eat lunch with them afterwards.”
In particular, Clement spent time with fellow Charlotte natives Elijah Hood and Anthony Ratliff-Williams. Throughout the day, Clement conversed often with Brewer, who recruits Charlotte for UNC. Additionally, the visit ended with a meeting with Larry Fedora.
“They were just telling me about their campus and their interest in me,” White said. “That day they told me they were pretty close [to offering]. They just want to get to know me more and bring me up to campus again.”
Clement – and his South Meck teammates – will return to Chapel Hill on June 18 for the Beast of the Hill 7-on-7 team camp. He and teammate Jake Lawler have also been invited to Fedora’s Freak Show.
Those two UNC camps will be a part of Clement’s hectic summer schedule. He also plans to camp at Clemson, NC State, and Wake Forest, among others. Lawler figures to accompany Clement at most – if not all – camps.
“In the last few weeks, Jake and I have been talking about where we want to go,” Clement said. “We want to end up at the same place. Hopefully, a lot of the same schools offer both of us and we can be a package deal.”
Older/former teammates – such as Zack Gilbert and Stephen Griffin, who enrolled at Tennessee in January – however, won’t affect Clement’s recruitment, he says.
Three schools have emerged as early favorites for Clement – Clemson, UNC, and Virginia Tech.
“Carolina showed a lot of love that day at the junior day,” Clement said. “Since then, I’ve had good conversations with Coach Brewer.
“At Virginia Tech, they introduced us to the staff there and that was nice.”
Besides his current and former teammates, Clement is close with Jaire Alexander (Louisville) and Mark Fields (Clemson)… Clement grew up a fan of Florida and Florida State.
2017 Target: Jacobe Clement
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