After committing to Clemson in January, Richburg (S.C.) Lewisville four-star defensive tackle Josh Belk is one step closer to fulfilling a dream.
“It’s a blessing,” Belk told The Clemson Insider at the EPT Showcase in Columbia on Sunday. “I’m the first one out of my family to actually go to college, and it’s a dream I’ve always had to play college ball, so I’ve just got to work and when I get there I’ve got to work even harder.”
Belk, one of the top prospects in the state of South Carolina, chose Clemson over offers from Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State and South Carolina among others because he feels the program’s culture will best foster his development as a player.
“The coaching staff, players, everybody is together,” he said. “There’s no every man for themselves. Everybody’s going to work together and make everybody be the best they can.”
One Tiger who has already begun taking Belk under his wing is standout defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Belk stayed with Lawrence during his junior day visit to Clemson in January, the visit that preceded his commitment, and the two have gotten to know each other.
Lawrence wants to help a fellow up-and-coming defensive tackle improve, while Belk wants to follow in the footsteps of Lawrence, who earned freshman All-American honors during Clemson’s run to the national title last season.
“We talk a lot. He’s kind of like me,” Belk said of Lawrence. “He’s not the party type. He’s laid back, always chilling. Every time I talk to him, I’m talking to him about things I can work on to be prepared.
“He gives me all the good stuff, and I’ll be like I’m going to follow in your footsteps when I get there. He’s like we’ll work together and he’ll get me where I need to be.”
Belk (6-3, 300) cited his strength, quickness and ability to read plays as his strengths as a player. A fierce competitor, as well, he was diagnosed with a torn labrum before his junior season but played through the injury all year and still was able to perform at a high level.
Belk, who underwent surgery after Christmas, expects to be 100-percent healthy by his senior season. In the meantime, he is doing what he can to prepare for it and his future at Clemson.
“I’m watching what I eat, drinking at least a gallon of water a day and conditioning,” he said.
Belk is on track to graduate in December and enroll early at Clemson in January. He is confident he can come into the program and compete for early playing time.
“I feel like I’ll play right off,” he said. “I’ll get in there since I’m enrolling a semester early. I’ll get into spring football and stuff and work hard for all the coaches and players that are in front of me. I feel like I have a good shot of playing.”