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OXFORD, Ala. — Clay Webb seemingly has it all figured out. He’d like to play for Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
He’d like to do it inside the “always perfect” atmosphere of Jordan-Hare Stadium. (Note: He’ll be in Auburn this weekend for the LSU game.)
Webb would like to see that happen while being in a strength and conditioning program led by Alabama’s Scott Cochran.
“I feel like they have a little bit better workouts,” he said. “I’ve got to give it to coach [Scott] Cochran. He can run a pretty good weight program and I feel like it would help me a bunch.”
To top it all off, he’d like to do all of that at a program with a “pretty much perfect” family atmosphere like the one he enjoys at Clemson.
While that is obviously never going to happen, it illustrates just how tough the forthcoming decision will be for the nation’s No. 1 center and No. 20 overall prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings for 2019.
It sounds like Frankenstein but that is the best Webb out of each of those options. Does he have a private leader about where he plans to go?
“No, sir,” he said. “I don’t. These next few weeks I am going to have to get it in gear and see what I like and don’t like.”
That was just a sampling of information that I learned from a trip to Alabama to see Webb this week.
- Webb has taken zero official visits up to this point. Do not expect him to use them all. He could use just one by the time he is signed and sealed.
- With that, he plans to make his decision sometime in mid-December and let those coaches know. But he won’t make a public decision until the first day of the early signing period on Dec. 19. He currently plans to make that public choice the day he signs early on Dec. 19.
- He plans to play in two All-American games. That’s the Under Armour All-American event, but also the newly-formed Pro Football Hall of Fame game with other elite national prospects. That game will take place in Mexico City of all places.
- It isn’t really a big of a deal for him to leave the state of Alabama as some could make it out to be. He grew up watching UFC events on television. Not the Tide and Tigers all the time. It is actually just him and his mother in Alabama. The rest of his family lives in Georgia.
- His aunt is a die-hard Auburn fan. Another uncle, this one who lives in Athens, is as Bulldog bred as they come. The rest of his extended and immediate family lives in Georgia.
- There is another member of his family who prefers Clemson, but Webb said that his family has let him know he gets to make the decision “100 percent” on his own. His family will support him where ever he goes.
- Webb is immensely strong. He tried to set the squat record for Oxford High School at one time, but the weight room….ran….out….of……plates! Webb told DawgNation he was good for at least 660 pounds, but wanted more. There were no more 45-pound plates to be found.
- The 5-star loves to read. “I have a big big bookcase in my room,” he said. “Just full of books. Probably about the size of this room.”
- He’ll stamp out bullying in the hallways and work with special needs children in his community. The good stuff. He also displays impeccable manners even amid a causal setting.
- His idea of a good day would be a Micheal Crichton novel and some chill time. He hasn’t caught up much with college recruiters, though. His phone has been lost since last week.
The Georgia appeal for Clay Webb
He’s rated as a center but really would rather play guard.
That is until he masters all the many nuances of the center spot. There’s so many things for the center to absorb, process and point out along his O-line prior to every play and even that always important snap.
Oxford coach Ryan Herring also feels he’s a better fit at guard at the next level, too.
I’m not sure how much this has been reported previously, but Webb was at the Georgia “reveal” event in late July.
Current Georgia tight end Charlie Woerner was one of his two “wingmen” for the trip and a good time was had by all.
“I was one of the people who went to the opening of the new locker room,” Webb said. “It was pretty crazy for the unveiling of it all. They had so much stuff there.”
The primary anchor for the Bulldogs in this tug-of-war for Webb won’t be a surprise. That would be one Sam Pittman.
“I really like coach Pittman,” Webb said. “He is the guy. I like him a lot.”
Pittman shows him how much he is wanted on every visit.
“When I get there he is all nice or whatever the entire time but he’s like right there beside me the entire time,” Webb said. “He won’t let me leave. He won’t let me like do anything by myself.”
It was an in-depth and at times a silly conversation with Webb about the Bulldogs, including Pittman. He even agreed that one description he had for Pittman sounded like a stalker, but not in a bad way.
“In a good sense I guess,” Webb said. “A good stalker.”
It goes beyond the surface level. He said he sees a lot of himself in Pittman. It is also very hard for him not to laugh or smile when explaining their relationship.
“I feel like he and [I] are a lot alike in that we see eye to eye on a bunch of different topics and stuff,” he said. “I feel like he would be a great guy to coach me. I would love to be coached by him.”
He has a return trip planned to Athens, but he could not recall which specific game that will be.
The future early enrollee said he had a 3.4 grade-point average last year. He has a comfort food option in the cheesy potato griller at Taco Bell and lists the underrated “John Wick” as a favorite film.
The major in mind would be either engineering or criminal justice. He can see himself joining the FBI or the SWAT team after some time in the police academy. That’s when he’s finally done playing.
But his pregame music is about as against the grain as it gets. Loved hearing about his unique tastes in music.
“This is going to sound like really weird,” Webb said. “There’s this Ukrainian worship song that I like a lot. I don’t know why. I like choir music sometimes.”
He likes rock music and has tastes in all genres. But “Sleep O’ Jesus” is his favorite.
“It is like an Eastern Orthodox song,” Webb said. “I don’t know. It just sounds angelic to me singing; it is like a children’s choir singing it. It just calms me down or whatever I guess.”
That answer calls for the requisite embed.
Where does Clemson stand with Clay Webb?
This may be a shade off-target, but it seems to me like Auburn and Clemson are in this thing just as much as in-state juggernaut Alabama. Perhaps even more so.
What does he like best about Clemson?
“The family feel of it,” Webb said. “I feel like if I went there my Mom and all of my cousins would be welcome there to come to watch the game and hand out down [there] or whatever they would like. Stuff like that.”
A source said that’s the only school that his mother ever brings up. She likes it there. Dana Webb is a former physical education teacher in the Oxford City Schools system. She now works on continuing education for teachers in the system.
Todd Bates, who currently serves as the defensive tackles coach at Clemson, began his coaching career at Oxford High in 2007. He also spent time at Jacksonville State University in Anniston in the same region from 2014-2016.
But Webb has stressed that his family has left the decision up to him. It is his decision and they will support whatever choice he makes to the fullest.
Will Alabama or Auburn let Clay Webb leave the state?
It is interesting to learn that Webb basically has no family in Alabama. He said the majority of his family lives in Georgia. There’s a big-time Bulldog uncle in Athens. But that passion is balanced out by an aunt who is just as die-hard for Auburn.
His first offer came way back in that mid-varsity summer right before high school. It was from Mississippi State. Auburn was the first of his finalists to extend an offer.
Webb said that day might have even been the happiest of his life so far.
“I feel like when I was probably the happiest when I knew I had my first offer when I went to the Auburn camp for the first time,” Webb said of that summer day prior to his freshman year.
That might mean more about the realization he could play college football rather than anything mystical about Toomer’s Corner. The main draw to those Tigers still seems to be something tangible.
“Every time I go down there it is the perfect atmosphere,” Webb said. “All the fans are electric. It is awesome down there. Going down there during the games everybody is going crazy. Everything is like awesome. I also like just the way everything like feels down there.”
Former Oxford teammate K.J. Britt is also a resource. He signed with Auburn back in 2017.
“I honestly ask K.J. (Britt) a lot about stuff down there,” Webb said. “How’s [blank] or whatever he kind of tells me. So it is not like a big mystery of whatever is going on.”
And Alabama? Well, it seems more about the culture there. This comes from a young man who drips sweat even after an indoor practice in a lower school gymnasium.
“I feel like I am going to get worked really hard there,” Webb said. “I really like that.”
Clay Webb on the field
The highlights are many for Webb on the field. I’ll never forget his work at the Atlanta Opening regional way back in March of 2016. He was just a freshman then.
Webb performed well, but he made his mark when it came time to start grouping up for 1-on-1s. The upperclassman in attendance all wanted to rep at guard or tackle. There was no elite center prospect in the big boy group. Everyone had alligator arms with that volunteer option.
Except for Webb.
He got it, balled out and made the Final 5 at center. I don’t recall him losing a rep. I also recall him stoning some current sophomore DTs in college who now play a lot for Power 5 schools. They were rising seniors in high school back then.
He is physical and powerful. Herring says that he’s built like a giant ape, but moves with the feet of a slight chimp. It all flashes on film.
“If I am going to say the best play, I am going to it is my Southside game,” Webb said. “When I pull up the ‘backer and I don’t see the guy. I just kind of saw him out of the corner of my eye. So I try to shoot with my right arm and I actually pick him up over my head and accidentally body slam him.”
Herring provides an even better story. That was the time Webb made a Georgia Southern signee quit in the middle of a game.
“Last year we were playing Gadsden City and they had a D-end that signed with Georgia Southern,” Herring said. “By midway through the third quarter the kid too himself out. The coach told me the kid went over there and said ‘I’m done.’ He took that guy’s soul.”
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound senior has been so good there was no need to update his Hudl highlights to attract more offers beyond his sophomore year. Webb was already that good. He’d already done more than enough to generate all his necessary college offers.
What will be the main thing for Clay Webb?
Let’s keep that main thing the main thing. Webb has a strong connection to Pittman, but he realizes that is probably not the smartest thing to hold on to.
“I know that’s really not the smartest thing for me to do,” Webb said. “I know that coaches will like sometimes leave in the middle of seasons [since] I might get there for half a year and then he like leaves and I’m stuck there for like four years.”
It will be more about the guys he knows he will be with for those three or four years.
“The people I play with,” Webb said. “That’s going to be the most important part for me for any team and that is why I love sports in general. That’s the reason why I feel like I am so good because I push myself for them. Because I mean like in wrestling everyone gets the sucky running experience and everyone has got to like push through it together. It only works if everybody likes each other on the team. I think that’s what important to me for college.”
That might be why he likes wrestling just a tick better than football. He really stresses those bonds of brotherhood within the team concept.
“I’m sorry I am going to sound like a real corny guy,” Webb said. “It is really about the guys. If I have a good bunch of friends it wouldn’t matter where I play at. It is all about relationships to me.”
Webb keeps coming back to that. Even when faced with depth chart questions. Or where he might play right away.
“I don’t really look at who’s where or who’s what,” Webb said. “I just feel like if I can find a good group of guys that I can be friends with then it is like good. Because if we mix well in the team dynamic then it works fine. Everything is going to fall out. Everybody is going to start where they need to start. Everything is going to happen.”
He feels like he will start out at backup center wherever he goes. Or as a reserve center. He even acknowledges that is where he needs to be to have the longest career that continues into the professional ranks.
“I feel like that’s where I need to play to become the best I need to be but I would really like to play guard,” he said.
Look for him to let those schools know what he plans to do sometime in mid-December. Then he will announce his public commitment and sign with the school of his choice on Dec. 19.
That’s the first day of the early signing period. While he admits that he doesn’t have a whole lot of this planned out yet, that’s the decision scenario that simply feels right to him at this time.
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