2018 LB Jake Venables (6’1, 210) of DW Daniel HS, SC just committed to the Clemson Tigers. Venables is the son of current defensive coordinator Brent Venables. This should not be how he is defined as a player, however. Jake Venables is a legit Division One caliber athlete. He had committable offers from Texas Tech, Northwestern, and SMU, in addition to Clemson. Venables is ranked as a composite high 3* prospect and number 387 overall (the four stars cut off at number 311).
What they get: Venables plays with good technique. He plays as an OLB at Daniel and shows solid positioning in pass coverage. Understands where he needs to be and body positioning. He strikes hard at the point of attack and doesn’t hesitate to wrap-up and drive through a ball carrier. He possesses good length and wingspan for the LB position. He diagnosis plays well and usually takes solid angles to the ball. He has worked to add strength this past year, putting on good size during his junior year.
Off the field, there is nothing to dislike. Not a thing. Works hard in the classroom, on the field, and will be a positive contribution to the locker room (I mean that seriously, he is a grinder and already a beta-Power Ranger, just a quality young man). This should not be considered a ‘charity’ offer in any way. The easy comparison is to Spencer Shuey, and I do think his career trajectory could follow Shuey’s, but Venables has a bit more length (different body types) and better technique than Shuey at this point.
What does he need to work on? The 4.6 40 time is generous. He will need to improve his sideline to sideline speed. At the high school level he is instinctual and can get away with a lack of speed but it will need to improve in college. He also isn’t a very quick twitch athlete. He needs to work on being more explosive in short spaces. This doesn’t impact his tackling or tackling form, where he shows good strength and explosion, but his change of direction in short spaces will need to improve. Unless this improves, he will need to stick inside and gain another 10-15 pounds.
The other added bonus is that Brent Venables might want to stick around a little longer to coach his son. This doesn’t mean that anything is set in stone, but it doesn’t hurt either. Congrats to Jake Venables and the Venables family.