The remaining eight members of Clemson’s historic 2018 signing class arrived to campus in late June, joining the group of mid-year enrollees that the Tigers welcomed to the fold in January.
In this feature, TCI takes a fresh look at the eight newcomers and gives a scouting report on what each player does best, how they will fit in and more. In this installment, we look at linebacker Jake Venables:
Hometown (High School): Clemson, S.C. (Daniel High School)
Height, Weight: 6-2, 225
Prospect ratings/rankings: 4-star, No. 279 national, No. 21 OLB, No. 4 state (247Sports); 3-star, NR national, No. 35 OLB, No. 9 state (Rivals); 3-star, No. 378 regional, No. 54 OLB, No. 14 state (ESPN)
High school stats/accolades: Named to the all-region I-AAAA team as a senior… played for the South Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl… had 70 tackles during his senior season at Daniel High, including 22 tackles for loss, five of which were sacks… had an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown against Westside early in the season… had a season-high 15 tackles against Pickens… also a starter as a sophomore and junior… also played on the Daniel basketball team in 2016-17
Strengths: Venables brings the physical, hard-nosed style of play you want in a linebacker. He is an aggressive, attacking downhill tackler with great instincts and knowledge of the position. The Shrine Bowl selection played outside linebacker and some defensive end at Daniel, so he is capable of rushing the passer and isn’t shabby in coverage, either, as evidenced by his 85-yard interception return for a touchdown last season. Venables possesses leadership qualities and strong intangibles such as desire and tireless work ethic. He loves the grind and told us he has been in the weight room or on the field virtually every day this offseason. He comes to Clemson in great shape at a sturdy 6-foot-2, 225 pounds and feels he has gotten faster and more explosive this offseason thanks to Clemson’s training program.
How he fits in: A son of Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Jake has been around the program a lot and sort of has a head start in terms of what to expect at Clemson. As you’d expect, he has an advanced understanding of the game and how to play the linebacker position. Jake figures to best fit in at the MIKE and/or WILL positions. He admittedly isn’t sure what will happen in terms of redshirting or playing this fall but is raring to get to work and compete in fall camp. Jake has what it takes to be successful, will find a way to contribute and should develop into a very solid player for the Tigers.
Coach speak: Daniel head coach Jeff Fruster on Venables —
“Jake’s been with the varsity team since his freshman year and he’s been nothing but an asset ever since he touched the field. Pure leadership and the ability to get the kids behind him and lead them to success. The guy does a lot of things that you just can’t put a price on, and he’s really going to be missed.”
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!