State’s potential top player for 2018 favors Clemson over UGA

South Gwinnett defensive end Justin Mascoll has a bright future. (Sonny Kennedy/ Special to the AJC)

Rising sophomore Justin Mascoll aces the eyeball test.

The nearly 6-foot-5, 218-pounder also gets high praise from his South Gwinnett High School coaches for his willingness to learn and a strong work ethic.  He won’t sign his letter-of-intent until February of 2018, but big-time programs are already lining up for his services.

When he camped at UGA this summer he said that the coaches asked him if he still liked the thought of playing in Athens. He said yes.

“Then they said they were going to keep their eye on me,” Mascoll said.

Mascoll told the AJC recently he grew up liking Alabama at first, but Clemson is now his favored school.

“Clemson just came on with me,” Mascoll said. “They have a real good family feel and I feel like I could be comfortable and real successful there. I think it would be a lot of fun to go to school there. They have a lot of things I would like to major in. I want to major in business.”

The Tigers were his first offer when he was 13 years old and heading into the ninth grade. He was about 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds at the time. He had just competed in a prominent national middle school all-star game.

UGA defensive line coach Tracy Rocker shares a word with South Gwinnett defensive end Justin Mascoll (Sonny Kennedy / Special to the AJC)

“Being the first offer matters,” Mascoll said. “It shows who has been looking at me the longest and was focused on me from the start and the get-go. They didn’t need anyone else to offer to know that they wanted me.”

Mascoll said that Louisville, Ole Miss and Texas A&M were the schools he felt he would also consider during his recruiting process.

How good is he? His 247sports player page already lists offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Miami, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Check out his prospect video from his time at the Mark Richt 7-on-7 camp in Athens this summer. Its pretty clear that he has the potential to be a dynamic edge defender by the time he reaches his senior season in 2017.

Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.