PELL CITY -- Clayton Rich signed a letter-of-intent to play with LaGrange College (LaGrange, Georgia) on Monday afternoon.
“When I went on a visit, it felt like I was at home,” Rich said. “I was comfortable, and the coaching staff welcomed me. The facilities blew me away.
“The structure of the football program -- the coach has only been there for a season, but they are on the right path. I am excited to be a part of a program that is going to get better and better. I want to go in and make an impact right away.”
The recruiting process started out slow for Rich, but it quickly picked up after National Signing Day.
“I had small Division I programs texting me and these turned into a preferred walk-on spot or grey shirts,” he said. “I just decided to wait and let whatever happen come to me. Two days after signing day, I got that first offer from Point University, and it just started rolling in. All these coaches started texting me. When I went on that first visit with LaGrange, I knew it was home.”
Pell City head coach Wayne Lee said he’s glad that Rich has the opportunity to get his education paid for while playing the game that he loves.
“LaGrange is getting a good kid,” Lee said. “He is a big, hard-working kid and, most of all, he is really strong academically. They are getting a guy that is going to graduate and have a chance to play football. It is going to be the best of both worlds.”
Rich will play on both sides of the ball on the next level as a defensive end and tight end.
“I think I can go down there and contribute as a strongside defensive end,” Rich said. “I can be a run-stopper and provide a pass rush to that solid front.”
Rich has been playing football since he was four years old.
The most memorable moment in his football career was getting a stop in triple overtime to win a game 19-16 against Cullman as a sophomore.
Rich said he is thankful for everyone that played a role in making his dream of playing college football into a reality.
“I would like to thank my parents for being so supportive and taking me everywhere I need to go to make this happen,” Rich said. “They have supported me every step of the way. If I had anything that I think that I needed to do, they were there and they provided me with the opportunity. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my parents.
“I would like to thank my coaches for pushing me. They knew I was capable of having this opportunity. They pushed me because they knew I was able.”