Jake Venables enjoyed the best game of his young career at Clemson on Saturday afternoon in the Tigers’ 59-14 win over Wofford.
The redshirt freshman linebacker recorded a career-high eight tackles and tied a team season high with 3.5 tackles for loss, matching Isaiah Simmons’ output at Syracuse and Justin Foster’s total at Louisville.
Venables’ dad, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, was pleased to see his son’s hard work pay off in the victory at Death Valley.
“I was happy for him,” Brent said. “He did well and made the layups. He works really hard, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize him, a guy that shows up, and he’s in the backfield a lot. He stayed on his feet and did a good job helping those guys get lined up. So, that was great.”
After logging just two tackles in two games during his redshirt season in 2018, Jake doubled that total with four tackles (one for loss) including a half-sack in Clemson’s season opener against Georgia Tech in late August. He added two tackles vs. then-No. 12 Texas A&M a week later before notching three tackles, including 2.5 for loss, in Clemson’s next home game vs. Charlotte on Sept. 21. Prior to Saturday, he posted four tackles in the previous contest against Boston College.
Nine games into the 2019 campaign, the game is starting to slow down for Jake, who has made strides both mentally and physically since he joined the team ahead of last season.
“Probably just my knowledge of the game,” he said of his biggest area of improvement. “And then I guess from a physical standpoint, just putting on weight and stuff like that and how I’ve been carrying it on the field.”
Jake, a former Daniel High School standout who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, said playing for his father has been what he imagined it would be like.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “It’s been what I expected, him being just as hard on me now as he was when I was growing up. I’ve been used to it, but it’s just kind of been slowing down for me.”
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