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Clemson Football Recruiting

Georgia athlete explains why he's driven to succeed in sports

June 2, 2022

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Clemson has a huge recruiting weekend on the horizon. On Friday, Christopher Vizzina‍, Nathaniel Joseph‍, David Ojigebe‍, Branden Strozier‍, the 2023 committed recruits, and over 20 other offered 2023 prospects, are expected to be in town.

One of the most recent recruits offered, Jalon Kilgore‍, (Putnam County High, Eatonton, GA), however, won't be on campus. 

"I wanted to do an official but they're only doing one weekend for officials, this summer, on June 3, and that's when I'm going to be in Oklahoma," Kilgore told Clemson Sports Talk

Kilgore (6'2, 195) was last in Clemson on April 9 for the Orange and White Spring Game. 

"It was pretty good," said Kilgore of his only visit to the campus."When I first got there, I met all of the coaches and we talked about the program, the facilities, and the education program. I really didn't get to visit the school that much because it was a spring game, but from what I've seen, it was great."

He received an offer on May 17 from safeties coach/co-defensive coordinator Mickey Conn, who has recruited Kilgore for months. 

"It's been great. Me and Coach Conn would chop it up every other day," he noted of his interactions with Conn. "I will say just to see how each other's day is going. Coach [Wes] Goodwin will hit me up also just to keep a good connection. The connection has been good though. It was good before the offer and it's even better after I have the offer."

The first-team All-State receiver caught 34 passes for 921 yards with 11 touchdowns and had 88 tackles, eight pass deflections, and four forced fumbles from his safety position. 

Kilgore was also recognized as the Region 4-2A Athlete of the Year for his overall achievements in football, track and field, and basketball. 

The Kilgore name is easily recognizable in the city of Eatonton and at Putnam County High. James Jr. excelled in multiple sports before moving on to Clayton State University (track and field) and Gerald, a Tennessee Tech football quarterback commit, was selected 2021, 4-2A Player of the Year in football and baseball.

"My parents raised me and my brothers around sports and I fell in love with them," said Kilgore, explaining why he plays sports. "And once I was doing that, I felt like I could motivate others to do the same. Where I live there are a lot of low places in our city. So, if I can help another guy by playing a sport and getting an education, then that's my "Why."

Kilgore's desire to help others comes from his parents, Pastor James and Tammy Kilgore, and his late grandfather.

"He means a lot to me," he said of grandfather, Apostle Dr. Gus Kilgore, Jr., who was a standout athlete at Fort Valley State University and founded the Reach2Teach nonprofit organization, established to support the needs of Middle Georgia.

"I didn't really get to spend as much time as I wished with him because he passed away when I was five years old. I was building a connection and it was a strong connection. I wish he was still here so he could see my accomplishments. I'm doing all of this for him just so I can make him proud up there in heaven."

With such great, influential figures in his life, no one should be surprised that Kilgore is focused on more than athletics for college. Additionally, he will have his family, city, maturation, and safety on his mind. 

"I plan to go somewhere I know I can build as a player and man," stated Kilgore. "Just build my character on and off the field and see myself grow during the next three to four years. I want my parents and city to see me leave college as a whole different person. I also want to be where I feel safe and my family doesn't have to worry about me."

Kilgore has a plan for once he gets on campus but is there a date to choose the school? 

"I'm starting to narrow down on my situation," he responded. "For my officials, I have Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Michigan set right now. I'm trying to get Florida too. I'll choose one more and I'll definitely try to get back to Clemson for an unofficial. 

"I should be making my decision in August."

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Georgia athlete explains why he's driven to succeed in sports

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