Congrats on narrowing it to 2! I know we talked a little already, so I'll try not to repeat myself much.
I think it kind of depends how important rhetorical theory is to you. I don't know a lot about NC State's program, but from what I've gathered, I think theory is more emphasized at Clemson and critical making is more emphasized at NCSU. Obviously we still have plenty of making going on here and there's theory there, but I think your "simple" analysis is pretty accurate.
If you check out the latest issue of Kairos, you'll see both a Clemson and NSCU student published in it. The work the Clemson student published started in a class, I believe, and I think most professors here are really welcome to you customizing a project as much as you can to fit your own interests and publication.