In case you haven’t noticed, several players are transferring out of Vanderbilt that are getting attention from the industry. Two of them were mentioned when we reviewed wide receivers in the transfer portal.
Another high-profile player is Nate Clifton, a defensive end from Brentwood, Tennessee. Clifton was a 3-star prospect in the Class of 2019. He has one season of eligibility remaining.
Vanderbilt was Clifton’s only Power Conference offer when he was being recruited out of high school. His other options included Cincinnati (which was a Group of Five program at the time), Navy, Coastal Carolina, and Central Michigan.
The primary reason Clifton didn’t get more attention is that he was leaning towards basketball when he was in high school. Jason Mathews, an assistant at Brentwood Academy, told the story of how he moved over to football:
"“Nate’s story is one of my favorites, I’m going to tell it years from now,” Mathews said. “Nate came to us as a basketball player, and that’s all he was, a basketball player. Coach [Cody] White and I can remember seeing him walk into the weight room, and we split up basketball and football and the end of the workouts, and Nate went to the basketball [side.] “Coach White and I kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, we kind of need to get this kid to play football. We called his mom and said, ‘Will you consider letting Nate play football?’” Mathews barely got the question out before he got an answer. “‘Yes! What time does he need to be there?’”"
Clifton is 6’-5” and 280 pounds and is classified as a defensive lineman instead of an edge rusher. He had 30 tackles and 5.5 sacks this season.
Clifton has been offered by Auburn, USC, and Washington so far.