Josh Belk on commitment: "It's just different at Clemson."
|Sunday, January 29, 2017, 10:17 AM- -|
Clemson’s elite junior day event and new defensive line coach are paying dividends as the Tigers picked up their second commitment for the 2018 recruiting class in as many days.
Saturday evening Rock Hill (SC) South Pointe wide receiver Derion Kendrick announced his commitment and early Sunday morning Richburg (SC) Lewisville defensive tackle Josh Belk made his commitment known to the world, becoming Clemson’s fifth commit for the cycle.
Belk – a four-star and No. 64 in the ESPN Jr. 300 – is the top player in the state of South Carolina, giving Clemson commitments from the Palmetto State’s top two players.
Clemson offered back in 2015, and Belk told TigerNet shortly after announcing his decision that he knew even two years ago that Clemson was the place he’d likely end up.
“When I got my first offer to Clemson in 2015, I knew there was a different feeling and a great environment and I liked Clemson from the beginning,” Belk told TigerNet. “If I was sad on the way to Clemson, when I got there the people there - the players, the coaches, everybody - were happy, so I had no choice but to be happy with them. I wanted to wait until this morning to announce it, but I told the coaches last night.”
While Belk had an idea he might pull the trigger Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t until he heard head coach Dabo Swinney’s message that he decided formally commit to the coaches.
“Every time I'm down there, there's a family feeling, and everything is based around family,” Belk said. “Everybody likes to be together, and everybody is happy, and it's genuine. They showed that they wanted me a lot and that I can be a big part of the team. What I like most about Coach Swinney is that he wants to serve your heart and not your talent, and I feel like they can coach me up to be the best that I can be in football, but off the field they have the tools that I need for life to be the man that I need to be. That's why I committed. It's just different at Clemson.”
Belk also wanted to meet new defensive line coach Todd Bates, and he immediately came away impressed.
“I've never connected with a coach like him on the first day, that's what I told him. That had a big part in it, too,” he said. “Throughout the trip, he was walking with me and making me feel comfortable and just talking like he has been recruiting me for years. When we went into his office, he told me he was a motivational speaker and gave us a little speech that just clicked with me and I knew then that he's the coach I want to be coached by.”
Belk’s commitment announcement was met with total jubilation from the Clemson coaches.
"Coach Swinney's quote that he serves your heart and not your talent was when I knew I wanted to go to Clemson," he said. "It was crazy. It was me, Coach (Jeff) Scott and Coach Swinney, and my family in Coach Swinney's office and when I told them they went crazy. They shook my hand, and I walked downstairs, and Coach Swinney followed me and started yelling at Coach (Brent) Venables to tell him."
Clemson’s junior day event allows prospects to see all aspects of Clemson, including the academic side, and Belk said it’s comforting to know that he’ll have the help he needs with his schoolwork.
“There's a lot of support. If you try and give it your all, there are people there that will stick behind you, especially as a freshman coming in and facing a big change,” he said. “I'm thankful that I'll have support like that to help me out if I work right. It will be a big change for me coming from high school.”
Belk also received a tour of the new football facility, and he said there’s not another place like it in college football.
“It's amazing. It's different. It seems like it will be a big part for the players and coaches because it's all about football,” he said. “It's already family with the players, but being able to be around each other will make us all closer.”
Belk also has offers from Auburn, Florida St. Louisville, Miami, LSU, NC State, UNC, Ohio St. and South Carolina.
Check out my photo. pic.twitter.com/DHqJhCYSdx— Josh Belk (@jbelk50) January 28, 2017