Can Clemson get another Alabama star?

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 09: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers and head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers talk before the start of the football game at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 09: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers and head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers talk before the start of the football game at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /
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Clemson could be getting another commit on Saturday. 

Jake Pratt,19, will decide between Clemson and Auburn later today. Pratt is not listed with stars by his name, but he is already a star in his own right. The senior from Vestavia Hills in Birmingham, AL captured the ESPN spotlight on Aug. 29, 2017, when he scored a 35-yard touchdown against Briarwood.

Pratt has Down syndrome and the teams previously agreed to give him his first career touchdown on the final play of the game. Before that game, he had been the team manager in 2016, but became a player for 2017. When approached by Pratt and his family about Jake’s interest in suiting up, Vestavia Hills Head Coach Buddy Anderson said yes, but with conditions. Anderson said that he had to participate in drills, workouts and come to practice like the other players before he could wear a uniform.

So Pratt, a long snapper/running back, earned his ESPN moment and subsequently, his newfound stardom led to meet and greets with Alabama coach Nick Saban and Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. He was also invited to the Sep. 9, 2017 Clemson vs Auburn game where a chance meeting with Dabo Swinney went viral.

Who has the edge?

Naturally, growing up in Alabama, he is either a Bama or Auburn fan. Well, not Pratt.

According to his sister Amy Hyde, he has been a fan of each school and it has nothing to do with the coaches, facilities, or football. “He’s been a big Alabama fan at times. He’s been a big Auburn fan at times. He’s been a big Clemson fan,” she said. “It depends on what pretty girl he likes at the time.” Hyde did say that recently he has been back and forth with Auburn and Clemson.

Her love of Auburn keeps them relevant to him and his friendship with Clemson sophomore safety Nolan Turner, a Vestavia Hills alum, keeps those Tigers on his mind. Pratt and Turner met each other on Pratt’s first of two visits to the campus as a prospective student for the Clemson Life program. Hyde accompanied him on those visits too and came away with a favorable impression of the atmosphere.

“Just the whole community seems so inclusive. They are so nice, natural and accommodating. It just feels so genuine, so I was impressed with that about the whole campus.”

Pratt needs to attend a school with a residency program for students with intellectual disabilities and Clemson Life is known as one of the best in the country and Auburn’s EAGLES, or Education to Accomplish Growth in Life Experiences for Success, is closer to home, so that’s how he got to his final choices. It also doesn’t hurt that both schools have great athletic programs, because his ultimate goal is to have a career in sports one day.

Hyde has full confidence he will reach the that goal one day too. Her confidence comes from watching someone who doctors initially thought would struggle to be a “functioning member of society” defeat the odds daily and when given an opportunity to make the football team, get in shape by going to the local YMCA to prepare himself for summer workouts.

Sounds like one school will be getting a good one today.

“Jake has so much to offer, and he’s just such a loving, kind person and everybody could be a little more like Jake, then the world would be a better place.”

Now after meeting coaches, touring the campuses, some VIP treatment and getting acceptance letters, he is ready to make his decision. His mind is made up and not even Julia Roberts can change it, because he is off the market.

Hyde will post the video of his choice on her Twitter page at 4:00 p.m Eastern.