September 3, 2009

Younger Claytor hoping to follow in brother's footsteps

Georgia Tech fans may be reading about a familiar name next year when North Atlanta High School sophomore Tyler Claytor cranks up his recruiting. The 2012 prospect is the younger brother of the Jackets' left tackle Nick Claytor. The younger Claytor has made quite the impact for the Warriors, as a true freshman and expectations are very high for the six-foot-three 240-pound defensive and offensive tackle.

"Right now I am starting at right tackle and nose guard," Claytor said. "Last year I started at right tackle and I think I did well for a freshman. Coming in I was not as strong as most of the guys on our team and people I played with, but I am really proud of the way I handled it. I had great technique as the coaches would say and I started at center in one game against St. Pius X. That is the one thing I can take from my freshman season and that I adjusted well to the game speed."

Claytor expects to have a lot of schools interested in his services and he has a few programs already in mind.

"I am mainly interested in schools in the ACC and SEC like Georgia Tech, Florida, Alabama, Clemson, and Florida State," he said.

With his brother at Georgia Tech, Tyler spends a lot of time at practices and around the program with his family and he hopes to get an offer from the Jackets when the time is right.

"I go to Georgia Tech a lot and I know all the coaches and most of the players," Claytor said. "I have a lot of camaraderie with the people at Tech, so it would be a great fit for me, but we will see what happens in the coming years."

Unlike a lot of talented 2012 prospects, Claytor has shied away from elite football camps. He plans to really begin his recruiting process next summer before the start of his junior year.

"I have not really heard from any colleges yet because I decided I was going to wait until my junior year before I go to camps and the summer before my junior year," he said. "That is the main reason why I have not really heard from any schools yet."

Claytor has not been to any camps or combines, but this season he should emerge on the radar of several major programs.

"I think my work ethic and I play tough every down," Claytor said. "The coaches get onto me about playing every down and running to the ball. If there is anything I think is a strength it is my work ethic."

The North Atlanta program has struggled for several years and Claytor's head coach Brian Montgomery is the first coach to run the program for back-to-back seasons in over six years.

"Our coaches have high expectations for us and usually they are set for all of us to play well," he said. "They want the defensive line to control the front and our coach talks about creating a new line of scrimmage every time. They want us to make plays behind the line and stuff like that."

Claytor says the coaching staff at North Atlanta has really helped him improve his game this summer and fall.

"I have improved my conditioning and my speed the most, but I think I have improved all areas of my game," Claytor said. "I worked hard over the summer with my teammates going and lifting weights. I also played summer baseball and that helped keep me in shape."

Nick has been giving Tyler a lot of advice on how to deal with the stress and circus that comes with recruiting nowadays.

"Nick has helped me a lot. He mainly tells me not to get wrapped up too much into the all the hype," he said. "He tells me to go out there and play like I want to play and when I get to a point where it becomes too much with the recruiting when to pull back. He talked about the coaches' texting him non-stop during school and calling him after practice. He said that is the main thing he had trouble with that and handling that. That was his biggest advice."

According to Tyler, Nick's has really enjoyed his decision to become a Jacket, so that could be a factor for Tyler when it comes time for him to make a decision.

"Nick has liked the college experience and he said he made a good choice in going to Georgia Tech," Claytor said. "It has worked out well and he got to start in the last half of last season."

For now, Tyler will focus on the Warriors and their 2009 season who won their season opener against South Atlanta 28-8 last week. Last year North Atlanta finished 5-5 and they hope to make the playoffs this season.

"Our coaches have high expectations for us and they expect us to get to the playoffs," Claytor said. "Our school has only been the playoffs once in our history and we are trying to change that this year. We have a great team and we think we can go deep into the playoffs and maybe to the state championships."

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