Son's commitment a dream that 'came full circle'

Son's commitment a dream that 'came full circle'

Recruiting

Son's commitment a dream that 'came full circle'

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Greenville (S.C.) three-star tight end Josh Sapp announced his verbal commitment to Clemson on Tuesday evening. The legacy recruit is, of course, the son of former Clemson and NFL linebacker, Patrick Sapp.

The Clemson Insider had the opportunity to catch up with Patrick and he shared his thoughts and feelings on his son following in his footsteps in The Valley.

“It means a lot. When we kind of started this process of him being recruited and schools starting to give him an opportunity and offers, Clemson has always been in our minds, on the radar,” Patrick told TCI. “We kind of said at the beginning of all of this, ‘Hey, man if you aren’t good enough to go to Clemson, then we won’t.’ I let him make his own choice throughout the process. I advised him, we worked together, planned a lot of things out and this opportunity came about.”

Patrick believes that the turning point for Josh, and ironically enough for Clemson, was when the Tigers got to see him in person at the Dabo Swinney Camp this past summer. Josh has known Tony Elliott for a long time, but Swinney Camp was the first time he had the chance to be coached up by Clemson’s offensive coordinator/tight ends coach.

“He walked away from there saying, ‘Dad, I want to play for that dude. He taught me more about the tight end position in three hours than I’ve known in two years,’” Patrick said. “From that point on, Clemson has been in his mind and heart seriously from that camp.”

It certainly helps that Josh is the son of a former Clemson player, but he worked hard and earned the offer on his own accord. Being his father, Patrick, of course, got a front-row seat to see just how serious Josh was about earning that offer from his “dream school.”

“I think what I’m most proud of is that part of it,” he said. “You raise your kids and the one thing you want them to have is work ethic and learn how to put plans and goals, but also how to work towards those things. I saw him do that every day. Every morning, he got up at 6. He got to bed early. He went and worked out. The question has always been with Josh was, how fast is he? How big is he? Can he block?”

Josh worked out with Greenville’s offensive line coach, Amos Lamb, on just blocking. He worked out with the offensive lineman. He worked out with the wide receivers. Josh did it all.

“I didn’t have to tell him to do it,” Patrick added. “He was self-motivated and he got up every day and done it. Even on the weekends. I’m proud of him for that because to me that’s what life is about, having that grind in you and that’s gonna carry for him forever. Now, that he’s at a great institution like Clemson and a great program, that work ethic is going to come into play because he’s gonna have to go there and compete to get on the field. I think that he has that inside of him to be able to do that.”

It started to settle in for the Sapp family during Clemson’s 19-13 win over Boston College at Memorial Stadium, back on Saturday, Oct, 2. They knew it wasn’t a done deal, but it was close to a done deal at that point. 

One thing Patrick knows about the coaching staff at Clemson between Swinney and Elliott is that they’re honest and open. They’ll also give you the truth about their evaluations.

“They said that they just didn’t know how good Josh was because he’s played quarterback, he’s played defensive end and when you watch his film, he plays a lot of different positions,” Patrick said. “They didn’t know he was a true tight end until he got to camp. I can tell that they were somewhat surprised by that and wished that they had got in much earlier on really recruiting him.”

Clemson stuck to its word and officially offered Josh last Thursday.

Patrick knew that this would be a great opportunity for his son to go somewhere like Clemson and play. 

“I was happy,” he said. “I’ve known those guys, I’ve known Coach Swinney forever. So, we talked about the opportunity and the possibility. We kept in touch throughout the process. I was just happy. I guess I let on him that I was happy too, but I didn’t want to sway what his decision was.”

In his conversation with TCI, it started to hit Patrick that Josh just committed to the program that he’s been a part of, played at, and worked at for years.

“I know everybody over there,” Patrick said. “We’re friends, as well as our respect for that coaching staff wholeheartedly. You’re talking about your child and you want to entrust your child to be in the best place, surrounded by the best people. I can’t think of a greater staff to be around, to learn from and grow as a young man. For me it was something, a dream that kind of came full circle. Now, it’s here and he’ll have an opportunity to go live his life and win some games in the Orange and White.” 

“Trust me, we would not have accepted that offer if we didn’t feel like he could go there and contribute to that team to be a part of that program and help them to win games,” he added.

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