Carlton returns to play in hometown with new team

Carlton chose Clemson over several other schools because of the opportunities they presented off of the football field.

Carlton returns to play in hometown with new team
October 03
07:29 2022

After a stellar four-year career at Wingate University, Jesiah Carlton had a decision to make for his last year of eligibility. Was he going to attend a school that would allow him more exposure for scouts on the next level, or choose a school that would allow him to play football, while also focusing on his post-football career? He chose the latter.

Out of his many choices, Carlton chose to play his final year of football with the Clemson Tigers and last week he traveled with the team to his hometown of Winston-Salem to play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

“It feels amazing. I have always grown up watching Wake, since it’s right down the road from where I live and grew up at,” said Carlton. “I’ve seen Clemson come to Wake and play many times, so I have always had a sentimental value to this game. But now that I am actually a Tiger, it’s a little bit different, just for the fact that I am on the field and getting to see a different side of it.

“I’ll be in the locker room, warming up on the game field, instead of being in the stands trying to cheer somebody on. I am grateful for the opportunity to be back and playing in front of some of my friends and family that are from here and just the opportunity to be here.”

After looking at the schedule, Carlton was excited to see the game against Wake would be a home game, which would give him the chance to catch up with loved ones in the city.

“We have been preparing to actually hit conference for the past couple of weeks but once I saw we were going to be at home, it kind of gave me a little more excitement to know that I’ll be able to see my friends and family and they will be able to see me because it’s kind of a far drive from where we are from to make it down to Clemson,” he said.

“Just being able to see friends, family and even people from high school hit me up saying they would be at the game, so being able to see them and try to perform in front of them is just a great experience for me.”

Carlton’s experience with Clemson is exactly what he wanted out of his last year playing college football. He had other places he could have attended that would have provided him more playing time, or even a starting position, however, he felt Clemson would be the best choice for him on and off the field.

“I had a couple of schools that I could have went to, that I knew for a fact that I would be playing, maybe even starting to try and get as much film as I could to try and get into the league,” he said about his choice. “With those schools, it would be more of a thing where I would just be strictly focused on football and that would be my Plan A and I really wouldn’t have like a great backup plan as far as getting a job after football.

“So coming here, they have programs that would allow us to explore our career options post football. And even if I got on the football field, you’re in front of some of the greatest coaches every day and we got NFL scouts coming in.  If I actually got the chance to actually step on the field, if I perform the way I know I can, then I’ll be able to get a chance at the NFL. So, it’s kind of more of a thing of just giving myself better options for post football because I know even if you make it to the NFL, it doesn’t last long. I was just focused on having as many options as I needed to have.”

Coming from a Division II school in Wingate, to one of the premier programs in college football hasn’t been too much for Carlton. There is a jump in talent level, but Carlton feels he has been up to the task. He says this is what he expected because he is a student of the game and had several friends play on the DI level.

“The talent level is really different and I always heard the saying that when you get to college it’s not a big difference between the different divisions other than size, training and everything like that but when you really get out there with those guys every day and you’re competing with some of the top guys in the country, you get to see where the difference comes in,” he said about the difference in talent level of DI vs. DII.

Carlton has been long-time friends with fellow Clemson Tiger KJ Henry. Carlton says he spoke with Henry before making his decision and had previous knowledge of Clemson because he would routinely visit Henry while he was attending Wingate.

“Since he got there in 2018, I would always go down and visit him on the weekends to see how everything is down here, so I kind of already knew how they work,” he said. “You know it’s more to it when you’re actually here every day putting the work in. He kind of gave me the layout but it’s kind of different when you’re doing it yourself.”

Carlton says he has been like a sponge since enrolling at Clemson, picking up all the tricks of the trade the school has to offer on and off the field.

“I learned what it takes to win,” he said. “They really pour into us about being the best version of ourselves and just being world class men and leaders. Listening to Dabo Sweeney in meetings every day, he has a lot of knowledge that he pours into us and makes sure we comprehend. We also have a staff that’s very well experienced in whatever area we are trying to get into.

“We have a lot of great leaders and mentors that are guiding us to where we want to be. Being there every day with guys that have the same passion that I have to be a great football player, but beyond that, be the best men we could be. It’s a great situation to be in and I am blessed to be here.”

The path to get to this point has not been an easy one Carlton says. Being a transfer DII walk-on and making the travel team wasn’t promised but he made it. He credits his support system of family and close friends that have pushed him to keep going. He has been playing the middle and weak side linebacker positions and has played some snaps on special teams. He is awaiting his time to get on the field at the linebacker position to show what he can do.

About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors