One of the top linebacker prospects in the country lives in Clemson’s backyard and happens to have multiple family ties to the Tigers.
Jalen Rambert – a top-100 national recruit in the 2023 class from nearby Powdersville (S.C.) High School – is the son of former Clemson running back Bernard Rambert, while Jalen’s mother attended Clemson as well and played soccer for the Tigers.
So naturally, Jalen’s blood runs orange, he is a big fan of the program Dabo Swinney has built and would love to have the opportunity to follow in his parents’ footsteps if he receives a scholarship offer from Clemson down the road.
“It definitely would be pretty special, just being around here where everyone’s either a Clemson and South Carolina fan, but mostly up here it’s Clemson,” Rambert said of a potential offer from the Tigers during a Zoom interview with The Clemson Insider. “So, just because of the reputation that the program has, especially now, and the recent success that they’ve had with their coaches and their staff, it would definitely mean a lot.”
Jalen’s father, who played for the Tigers from 1999-2002, was actually roommates with former Clemson wide receiver and current offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and still stays in touch with Elliott to this day.
“He definitely likes Coach Elliott,” Jalen said of his dad. “They’re definitely still pretty cool and they talk sometimes, and he really likes him. He thinks he’s a good dude.”
Clemson defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables has let Jalen know they like what he brings to the table as a player and hope to get him back on campus so he can get to know the coaching staff.
“I know that from what Coach Venables has told me, that they’re really interested in me,” Jalen said, “and even though I’ve been there a lot, they want me to come up again and walk around and meet all the staff and everything.”
A 6-foot-2, 240-pound sophomore, Jalen currently holds offers from Virginia Tech, Arkansas, UAB, Middle Tennessee and Florida A&M.
With many more offers likely to come for Jalen as he progresses through the recruiting process, he is taking his time with it right now and waiting to see what other college opportunities come his way moving forward before he figures out his favorite schools in his recruitment.
“I’m keeping my options open,” he said. “Just kind of letting it take its course, see the kind of relationship that I feel like I have with coaches from around the nation, and just kind of testing the waters before I really start to hone in or even think about making a list or anything or getting the top schools in my head.”
When Jalen eventually advances toward making his commitment in the future, a couple of factors will play an important part in his college decision.
“Definitely a school with good academics and a good culture,” he said of what he is looking for. “I don’t want to be around a bunch of guys that don’t feel like they have what it takes to compete and don’t want to compete. I want to be pushed every day because that’s what’s going to make me better and make everyone else around me better.
“So, that’s a big thing, and then academics. I want to go to school to be an engineer. I’m not sure exactly what type of engineering yet, but whichever one I pick, I want to be able to make sure that they have a good program for me to succeed in that field, too, if that is my career choice later on.”
As a sophomore last season, Jalen amassed 101 tackles, 38 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, five forced fumbles, one interception, three pass breakups and 23 quarterback pressures in eight games.
Jalen prides himself on his versatility and feels he can play virtually anywhere on the defensive side of the ball.
“Even though I’m 6-2, 240 pounds, I play some corner sometimes, play some safety, I play some end – I really can play wherever they need to put me,” he said. “I’m definitely a competitor, too. I don’t like to lose. I hate losing. There’s something about it. If they’re going to have my back, I’m going to have theirs, too. I feel like I owe that to all my teammates and coaches and the ones that put in all the time with me and for me.”
Jalen is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 2 prospect from the Palmetto State, No. 4 inside linebacker nationally and No. 76 overall prospect for the 2023 class.
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