Lone Star defender building relationship with Brent Venables
|Thursday, July 9, 2020, 8:01 AM- -|
Brent Venables has expanded the “power of the Paw," and with the 2021 class starting to fill up, Venables and the defensive staff are hoping to haul in a major prospect from the Lone Star State.
Andrew Mukuba is a priority target for the ’21 class, receiving an offer from Clemson in March. The 6-0, 185-pound safety from Lyndon B. Johnson (TX) Austin has collected 35 offers and remained in constant contact with the Tigers since receiving the offer. Mukuba is currently listed as a 4-star and the No. 12 safety in the country according to 247Sports. TigerNet caught up with Mukuba to discuss his recruitment and where Clemson currently stands.
Mukuba’s recruitment has been handled by Venables and safeties coach Mickey Conn, with conversations going beyond football.
“I’ve built a really good relationship with coach Venables and coach Conn,” Mukuba told TigerNet. “Those two are really solid guys. Our conversations are different because of the relationships we have. Our conversations really aren’t about football, it’s about life and what’s going on in this crazy time. We know where we stand and understand each other.”
Venables’ defense is known for their aggressive play and constant pressure, expecting safeties to come down and help in defending the run. Clemson is focused on Mukuba coming in to be that guy, something that has stood out during his recruitment.
“Coach Venables said he needs a safety that can cover and come down and make tackles and can do anything in the secondary,” he said. “He just told me that he’s taking one person at my position in my class, and that really opened my eyes. When they reached out to me, it showed me that they don’t just want me but they need me. That was a big thing for me.”
Mukuba’s skillset seems to match up perfectly with what Venables wants in a safety.
“I feel like I can cover and I can come down in the box and make some tackles,” Mukuba said. “I’m really versatile, you can put me anywhere in the secondary and I’m going to be able to make plays. I’m comfortable anywhere on the field in the secondary.”
Mukuba released a top 12 in May, putting Clemson in a group that included Texas, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, TCU, Arizona State, Michigan State, Missouri, Arkansas, and UCLA. What is it about Clemson that made them a part of his top schools?
“One thing that interests me about Clemson is the coaches there,” he said. “Coach Venables, you know how he gets down with the defense, one of the best defensive coordinators in college football right now. And the system at Clemson, how they use their DBs in the run and the blitz. And another thing that really stood out to me is Clemson is only taking one player at my position in my class. They’re still communicating with me and talking to me and that makes me feel like I’m going to be a big piece.”
Mukuba seems to hold Venables in high regards, and hearing from Venables during his recruitment has made a lasting impression.
“At Clemson, coach Venables kind of runs the whole defense and recruiting wise he focuses on the defense. Coach Venables talking to me just shows the interest they have in me because I don’t just talk to position coaches. The defensive coordinator knows who I am and knows how he’s going to use me and the type of player I am.”
Moving forward in his recruitment, Mukuba is hoping to make a trip to Clemson when on-campus recruiting resumes. What is Mukuba looking for when he takes his visits?
“A place where I can get a good education and a place where I can be comfortable and safe,” he said. “That’s really important to me. The football part, that’s going to come with it, but a place where I’m comfortable at. And a place that is going to give me a chance to prove that I can come in and make a big impact early on as a true freshman.”
Mukuba is a two-sport athlete, running track for Lyndon B. Johnson. For the 2019 season, Mukuba was a unanimous selection to the All-District first-team as a safety. On film, Mukuba shows excellent ball skills on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Mukuba shows elite speed when coming downhill to make tackles and delivers big hits in the open field. Mukuba contributes in all three phases of the game, also serving as a return specialist.