One of the most impressive things about Gainesville (Ga.) offensive tackle prospect Nick Claytor is his competitive spirit.
That spirit never was so evident than in his high school team's second round Georgia Class AAA playoff game against a talent-laden Atlanta Westlake squad.
Claytor suffered a foot injury (later it would be determined that he had a broken bone) during the game, yet continued to battle. He battled UGA-bound lineman Kiante Tripp, he battled Notre Dame-bound end Morrice Richardson and he won the majority of those.
The game film shows the 6-foot-6, 312-pound Claytor caving in his side of the Westlake defensive line more than once and his team went on to win the game 28-20 to advance to the state quarterfinals.
Claytor, who has a shot at being one of the top offensive line prospects in the Peach State in the class of 2007, is sitting on one scholarship offer, from Georgia Tech, but there have been a host of schools showing him serious attention, including Ohio State, Florida, Miami (Fla.), Georgia.
"I've been talking to a lot of schools that have been telling me that after they evaluate me on tape, they are going to decide whether to offer me," Claytor said. "Florida and Auburn said they are definitely interested and may be putting an offer out, but after that those are the only schools that are showing an offer."
Claytor recently the short hour drive up I-85 from his Northeast Georgia home to Clemson and got an up-close look at the Tigers.
"It was pretty impressive," he said. "My mom loved it because she got recruited by Clemson when she was in high school. So she went there and saw the facilities and was pretty impressed. I was impressed.
"Coach Tommy Bowden is strong in his faith, so I was pretty impressed by that."
He also has seen Georgia and Georgia Tech, plans to see Auburn and will make an unofficial visit to Florida on April 1.
That's my birthday, so I've talked my mom into taking me down there (to Florida)," Claytor said.
Right now, there are a cluster of schools at the top of Claytor's list of favorites.
"Definitely (Georgia) Tech, because they have offered and because I have gotten to know them the most," Claytor said. "Then I'd say Florida, Georgia and Ohio State. Those are really the top schools. There are other schools that I've been keeping in contact with, but if you wanted a list, those are the schools that are definitely in there."
Claytor's interest in the Buckeyes comes as no shock. Though he has lived in Georgia for 11 years, he was born in Ohio and has strong connections to the state.
"I'm from Toledo, Ohio, and my entire family lives there it seems," he said.
His mother also was a Division I athlete .
What are some of the things Claytor will be looking for in a program?
"Academics," he said. "I want to study sports psychology, so the school has to have a major in a field of psychology that's at least above average. The coaching staff is also important because I am going to be spending a lot of time with them. The players that are surrounding me have to be quality people and quality players. Are we going to win? Things like that."
Claytor is participating in track this summer, throwing the discus and is working on getting back into shape following
"I've been trying to build my endurance back up."
Claytor attended the Rivals.com Junior Day last Saturday at Lovejoy (Ga.) High in suburban Atlanta.
"I learned a lot," Claytor said. "Everybody says take your five official visits. This explained to me that it's good to take your parents. I learned a lot. It was very informative about letters. You get letters from different schools and you think it's scholarship time. That doesn't mean scholarship. That means they know about you.
"It doesn't mean that you don't need to work hard."
The guess here is that Claytor will have no trouble doing that.