Colorado holds off Florida for Rivals250 RB Ashaad Clayton
NEW ORLEANS — There have been plenty of bumps along the path for Ashaad Clayton, including one grueling decision before he could finally put a pin in his long-winding recruitment.
Even after committing to Colorado in November, the Rivals250 running back did not sign. He took visits to Kansas, and then Florida last month, before eventually staying true to his commitment and signing with the Buffs.
Clayton’s first trip to Boulder set the bar, and after exploring his other options more closely over the past two months, he never wavered on his decision.
“I didn’t sign in December because I wanted to take my official visits … I wanted to see if that’s what I really wanted to do,” Clayton told Rivals on Wednesday. “Florida was top two right behind Colorado, but when I was there, the energy was just different. Anyone who goes to Boulder would feel the same way. The energy is different. You feel wanted. There’s no people with fake love and in Colorado, there’s no fake love.”
Clayton saw his fair share of ups and downs in his recruitment. His offer sheet blew up as freshman and sophomore and was an early LSU lean. He then shifted his focus onto other SEC schools like Georgia and Alabama before picking Colorado over Kansas. Florida entered the mix in December and gave the Buffs the biggest run in the end.
Nonetheless, the combination of Coach Mel Tucker and assistant Cordae Hankton gave Clayton enough confidence in his decision to outlast any other schools.
“After the Florida visits, a couple weeks back, after that I knew,” Clayton admitted. “I didn’t doubt it. I had to weigh my options to see if that’s really what I wanted to do. I never doubted Colorado. I’m glad they came into my life and stuck by my side — even when other schools fell back on me. That speaks volumes.
“The family there, the coaching staff … they’re real. They’re as real as it gets. Mel Tucker is an amazing guy. He’s there for you. I talked to the players to get input on Coach Tucker and they said the same thing about him. He’s genuine and cares about his players.”
Lastly, Clayton returned to Colorado right before signing day to confirm his thought process. Credit Hankton, a New Orleans native, for helping to stave off the Jayhawks and Gators at different points in his recruitment and hold onto the Rivals250 back.
“He played a big role,” Clayton said of Hankton, who just wrapped up his first season in Boulder. “Knowing we’re from the same area of New Orleans, he’s making it out there in Colorado and I have a New Orleans guy out there with me … that played a major role. If he can make it there, then I can make it.”