Venables, Bates check in on top-50 national prospect

Venables, Bates check in on top-50 national prospect


Venables, Bates check in on top-50 national prospect


While making the rounds in Alabama this week, members of Clemson’s defensive coaching staff checked in on a top-50 national prospect with an offer from the Tigers.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables and defensive tackles coach Todd Bates paid a school visit Wednesday to Gardendale High School (Gardendale, Ala.) four-star defensive lineman Kelby Collins, who is ranked as high as the No. 32 overall prospect in the country for the 2023 class by Rivals.

Collins (6-5, 257) couldn’t speak directly with the coaches due to NCAA rules, but they conveyed a message to Collins through his high school coach.

“That they want me up there for their elite junior day,” Collins told The Clemson Insider.

Does the Yellowhammer State standout plan to attend the program’s elite junior day in January?

“I think I will,” he said.

Gardendale (Ala.) 2023 4-star DL Kelby Collins during pregame Saturday, October 30, 2021 at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. Bart Boatwright/The Clemson Insider

Collins received an offer from Clemson on June 1 and participated in the Dabo Swinney Camp the same week. He returned to campus in October as an unofficial visitor for the Tigers’ 30-20 win over Florida State at Death Valley.

“I enjoyed the game when I went up there,” he said. “The atmosphere was crazy.”

Collins, who has collected more than two dozen total offers, dropped a top eight in late October that included Clemson along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Texas A&M.

Bates and the Tigers have built a solid rapport with Collins and are in a good spot with him at this point in his recruiting process.

“My relationship with them is good, especially with Coach Bates,” Collins said. “(The Tigers) stand pretty high with me right now.”

According to MaxPreps, Collins had accumulated 75 total tackles, including 20 for loss and 12 sacks, through eight games as a junior this season.

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