A lot has been made about Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney coaching his two sons Will and Drew Swinney, and deservedly so. It’s not every day a college football coach gets to have his son, much less two of his sons, play for him.
At Clemson, however, it has become common place.
Before the Swinney boys, D.J. Greenlee played tight end for the Tigers. He father is Larry Greenlee, who is Clemson’s strength and conditioning coach.
Then the Davis Twins, J.D. and Judah, came a year after Greenlee and play linebacker for the Tigers. Their father of course is 1981 All-American and national championship linebacker Jeff Davis, who serves as the football program’s Director of Player Relations and External Affairs.
Will Swinney arrived at Clemson last year and is the Tigers’ holder and wide receiver, while his brother Drew is a freshman on this year’s team, and you got it, he is a wide receiver too.
Joining Drew, as sons of coaches on the team, this season is quarterback Ben Batson and linebacker Jake Venables. Batson is the son of Clemson’s Director of Football Strength & Conditioning, Joey Batson, now in his 22nd year at Clemson.
Jake Venables, of course, is the son of Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Brent said proudly.
Jake Venables is the highest recruited player of the bunch. A four-star linebacker out of nearby Daniel High School, he was the No. 29 linebacker in the country by 247 Sports and was the No. 6 overall player in the state of South Carolina.
He recorded 70 tackles, including 22 tackles for loss and five sacks his senior year on his way to All-Region and Shrine Bowl status.
Brent said his son has not played too bad since camp started last week. He said Jake’s head is spinning a little bit, but he has good resource, obviously, if he has any questions or gets too confused.
“He can lean on me,” Brent said.
Brent said Jake faced time him the other night to ask a few questions, pulling out his playbook so his father could explain a few plays.
“He had his playbook out. That was kind of funny,” the Clemson coach said laughing. “I said, ‘Haven’t you been paying attention for the last 18 years.’
“It’s a lot of fun because he is doing well.”
It’s fun because it is a family affair at Clemson. Even more reason to call it “Clemson Family.”