Nation's top linebacker ready to work hard at Clemson


by - Recruiting Reporter -
Trotter is rated the nation’s top inside linebacker.
Trotter is rated the nation’s top inside linebacker.

Clemson’s 2021 recruiting class is full of high-end talent, with nine commits listed as top-10 players at their position according to 247Sports recruiting rankings. Among those positions, defensive coordinator Brent Venables gained commitments from two linebackers ranked as top-50 players in the entire ’21 class.

Jeremiah Trotter Jr. is one of those defenders that Venables targeted, gaining a commitment from the No. 1 inside linebacker in the ’21 class on September 7, 2019. The standout linebacker from St. Joseph’s HS (PA), who is expected to enroll early and therefore miss a postponed high school season, is currently listed as the No. 25 player overall in the ’21 class, the No. 2 player in the state of Pennsylvania, and the No. 1 inside linebacker in 247Sports recruiting rankings.

TigerNet caught up with Trotter Jr. to discuss his Clemson recruitment and what to expect from the top-ranked linebacker upon arrival to Clemson.

Along with being the defensive coordinator, Venables also serves as the linebackers coach for Clemson. Trotter Jr. will be spending a lot of time with Venables, and the two formed a strong bond over the course of Trotter Jr.’s recruitment.

“The coach that I first started talking to was coach Venables when I was at football camp down there,” Trotter Jr. told TigerNet. “He basically showed a lot of interest and showed me around the campus, and he really got me interested in the school. They liked how I’m an all-around player and that I’m a 3-down linebacker that they can put where ever they need. And someone that fits in their defense and being the type of linebacker they were looking for.”

Building that strong relationship with Venables was a major part of Trotter Jr.’s recruitment, as well as feeling the family environment during his time at Clemson.

“Being able to go to my position coach that knows everything about the defense and having him right there if I have any questions, that’s going to be a big help for me when I go to school,” Trotter Jr. said. “The overall impression I got from everybody was a family type of vibe, just from meeting all the coaches and talking to all the players. The overall vibe of family was a really big thing for me. I like the balance between school and football. Just knowing that I have the academic side and the football side, and it’s a high level program. That was big for me.”

Trotter Jr. is the son of former All-Pro NFL linebacker, Jeremiah Trotter. Trotter Jr. has soaked up the coaching from his father and developing into an elite linebacker.

“He gives me and my brother a lot of knowledge of what we need to do and what we need to learn as far as playing linebacker,” Trotter Jr. said of his father. “And then just knowing the game and being versatile. If you can be a 3-down linebacker, like coach Venables is looking for, you can make money off of that. If you can stay on the field and get more looks, that’s really important. I feel like my strengths are definitely towards the run, with my dad being able to help me out with his experience in the NFL and everything. He’s been able to help me out with reads on whether it’s run or pass. We’ve worked on all parts of my game and I feel like I can help where ever they need it. During my recruitment, his advice was to put it all on the field. If you excel on the field, all the stuff with talking to coached and getting your name out there will come.”

What can Clemson fans expect from the 4-star linebacker once he arrives on campus?

“I feel like I’m going to bring another guy that is going to work hard, and work hard for his opportunities and time on the field,” he said. “And when I get my opportunity to play, I’m going to make sure I’m ready to go and that I perform on the field.”

Trotter Jr. has spent his off-season working with a private trainer for speed and agility, while also working out in the weight room at home. Trotter Jr.’s last max for squat was 515-pounds for 4 reps, while also maxing out on bench press at around 285-pounds. Trotter Jr. has been praised in this recruiting cycle as being one of the most instinctive linebackers, which is evident on his film. Trotter Jr. diagnoses plays quickly and finds the right fit in the run game, showing good closing speed and aggression when arriving to the ball.

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