OG Matthew Burrell Profile
From his assessment of that time in Tigertown, to his friend/Clemson commitment Chad Smith and what's up next in his recruitment, Burrell didn't hold back during his interview on Thursday night.
The following is an edited transcript of that interview.
How was the trip to Clemson?
Burrell: I loved it.
What made it such a good experience for you?
Burrell: I mean, I got to chill with coach [Robbie] Caldwell…it's just good to finally put names to faces and shake hands with everybody. I played video games with coach [Dabo] Swinney's son and chilled with him a lot. It was really getting to know them away from football.
Even though you had Clemson in that top 15, it kind of surprised me that you went down there. I didn't really think that you had that serious of a relationship with Clemson.
Burrell: No, I do. I mean, everybody -- part of the reason I refrain from doing interviews is because everybody has their own assumptions and the main assumption is that I'm going to Alabama. I can tell you that now, that's not the case whatsoever. I love Alabama, but I don't have a No. 1 right now. Probably, my No. 1 would be Clemson, because I just got back and I have that relationship with them.
So you think part of that is because of that new feeling, because it was your most recent visit?
Burrell: Yeah, it was refreshing. You know, I can't really say that Clemson is my No. 1, because I've been to Ohio State twice and it just gets better, so it's really, overall, I'm getting great relationships with these coaches. It was new for me, too, because South Carolina is different.
What were your impressions of Clemson as a program before you got down there to see it all for yourself?
Burrell: Tough ACC school, but not a national powerhouse. That's what I had in my head, but getting down there and meeting the players, seeing their work ethic, just seeing how they are together, they're probably one of the best teams in the country, like right now.
How about Chad Smith organizing that group from Virginia, how did that come about, you getting in on that and going down to Clemson?
Burrell: I met Chad a while ago. Chad, there's no way anyone could not like Chad. Chad is probably one of the most charismatic people that I know right now as a recruit, and I trust Chad. So, when Chad told me to give Clemson a shot, I'm going to give them a shot. I was already going to give them a shot, but Chad made it a lot easier to understand why he chose it, so the fact that he made that happen, I could play with somebody like that for the next four years easily, let alone be one of my best friends on the field.
Where did y'all first meet?
Burrell: I don't know. I think we might have been at a visit, like when he first started getting his offers. But, then again, I think it might have been at a camp. I have no idea. All I knew was he was the white boy that had bounce. He could jump and talk trash. He was talking trash to all the flashy black kids that come in and talk a bunch of crap. Chad was right there with them running his mouth. That was when I first met Chad and he has not changed whatsoever.
What led you to want to visit Clemson, not necessarily for the camp last week, but at some point?
Burrell: They have what, four o-tackles [committed] right now? I might be, personally, ahead of them, except for Mitch [Hyatt], but the other ones that I'm ahead of, Clemson does not need me. So I had that in my head, not everyone is going to wait for me. So I was like, if I'm going to go see them and give them a shot, I might as well do it now, so that was my main motive. At the same time, the fact that they still showed me love when they already have guards and tackles and stuff, just the thought of being in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country is an honor.
So does Clemson like you as a guard, tackle or both?
Burrell: They like me as a tackle. They want me as a tackle. But I made it clear to them, I can play center. I can play guard and flourish there, I feel like.
So, with that being said, it doesn't matter where you play at the next level, just as long as you're playing?
Burrell: I'm going to learn every position, learn what I've got to do to be there. Because, in the end, I want to go to the NFL one day and my versatility will get me there.
What's up next for you, visit-wise?
Burrell: Penn State, I'm going to Penn State [Friday]. Then, I'm going to Florida, Florida State this summer, Bama this summer. I'm going to go back to Ohio State, I'm pretty sure. No more in-state visits. They're not really happy with me. I'm going to South Carolina this summer, too. I'm going to Clemson's cook-out on the 18th [of July].
Decision-wise, do you have a timeline?
Burrell: To be honest, I don't, because I could commit tomorrow and be happy. That's kind of the hard part. That's what's really driving me crazy. I really don't know where I want to go. Some days, I feel like, OK, Ohio State is the place for me. The next day, I'm like, OK, coach [Nick] Saban is going to do something big and I need to just call it a day. Then, other days, I'm like, let's go see what LSU is like, so I'm always making new top fives, top twos, thinking about these different things. I'm probably going to be a signing day guy. But, again, with Clemson, their situation if they don't want to wait, then I'll have to cut down sooner than I think.
At the end of the day, what will be the main factor in what you're trying to figure out which school it's going to be?
Burrell: I always say relationships are going to be a thing that are going to tip me over to a different school… so it's going to be relationships and if I can live there the next four years of my life and where I can go afterwards.