Dorman High School offensive lineman Mason Trotter received a pleasant surprise when his phone rang Tuesday morning.
The senior was planning to join Clemson’s national championship program the next day as a preferred walk-on. Instead, Tigers offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell called Trotter and offered him a scholarship.
Trotter put pen to paper Wednesday morning, making the move official. He chose the Tigers over Louisville, another ACC program that offered him a scholarship.
“(Clemson) offered me yesterday. It meant a lot to me. I really wanted to go there, but I was just going to walk on and do what I had to do to get a scholarship (later). But when they called me and told me it was a lot of stress off of me,” Trotter said. “They called me yesterday at like 10:30 and told me they were going to send me my scholarship papers. ... I was excited, at a loss for words. I didn’t know what to do.”
Even though Trotter did not receive an offer from Clemson until Tuesday morning, he knew after taking his official visit to Clemson in mid-January that he wanted to join the Tigers.
The environment and the coaching staff at Clemson played a big role in his decision, as did the distance from his home.
“Clemson is just a great place. It’s close to home. I know a lot of people there. They’re a winning program and I just want to be a part of it,” Trotter said. “They just treat everyone like family, everyone the same. It’s a great environment there.”
Trotter visited Louisville on Jan. 25, the week after his Clemson visit. Even though he had yet to receive an offer from the Tigers, Trotter knew that his heart was in the Upstate.
Louisville “is on the come-up. They’ve got coach (Scott) Satterfield there now. They’re really good guys,” Trotter said. “They treat everyone like Clemson did. They’re great guys and family. But Clemson, they just won the national championship and it’s only an hour away. You can’t beat that.”
Trotter is ranked as a two-star recruit, the No. 185 guard and the No. 70 player in the state of South Carolina, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Clemson has had success finding under-the-radar recruits under Dabo Swinney and turning them into solid contributors.
K’Von Wallace, Isaiah Simmons, J.D. Davis, Judah Davis, Denzel Johnson, Tanner Muse, Gage Cervenka and others contributed for the Tigers this year after signing as three-star recruits or lower coming out of high school.
Clemson is hoping that Trotter can be the next in line.
“They like that I’m versatile and I can play any position on the O-line and I can move good,” Trotter said. “They’re great guys. They are truthful and they told me straight up from the beginning about what they thought about me, and that’s what I really liked about them.”
Trotter has presently accepted a grayshirt offer, which would put him on scholarship prior to the 2020 season, Swinney said during Clemson’s Signing Day show. But it is possible Trotter could be placed on scholarship this summer, according to a source.