Some recruiting services aren’t as high on DT Josh Belk (Rivals has him as a high 3* prospect). I am very glad that the coaching staff decided to move on him so aggressively, especially when it seemed early on that he was a USCjr lock. I am high on Josh Belk and think he is underrated. Belk (6’3, 295) from Lewisville High School in Richburg, South Carolina is a composite number 119 overall—247 has him as the number 22 ranked overall player, ESPN number 64 overall, and Scout number 106 overall. Rivals doesn’t even have him nationally ranked, which drags down the national ranking.
He is a top 100 player and a fringe top 50 player in my book depending on his development over his senior year. Belk plays on the offensive and defensive line for his high school and wears the number 50. I see a lot of parallels between he and a young Grady Jarrett (Jarrett coming out of high school), except with a couple extra inches of height. He dominates at a smaller school against some weaker competition. But he absolutely dominates.
Belk is an athlete at DT. He has elite short space quickness and great feet for a guy his size. He also is pretty strong at this stage and violent with his hands. He generally plays with good pad level, but will need to get more consistent with technique and pad level in college. He will have a learning curve in college like most South Carolina defensive lineman who are just so much better than their competition and get away with being more athletic. Right now he could line up at either the 3-tech or nose tackle (over center), but will need to get stronger to hold up as the nose in college.
One fun thing about Belk is that he actually kicks off for his high school team (not horribly well, it won’t happen in college) and then runs the thirty yards and pulverizes the returner.
HOW THIS HAPPENED??
This is a huge upset for Will Muschamp and his staff. I can’t say that enough. Going into the year Josh Belk was considered by the Columbia staff to be a Gamecock lock. Most at Lewisville HS would have said the same. Belk grew up having an early pull to the Gamecocks. That turned quickly after Belk’s trip to Clemson this season. He and his coach had a wonderful time and were blown away by the visit. After that trip Clemson was every bit a contender if not leading for Belk. That momentum never dissipated despite repeated trips to USCjr’s campus. This weekend further solidified those feelings and Belk has stated publicly that he hit it off with Clemson’s new Defensive Lineman Coach Bates. Hobby was a great coach but never an elite recruiter. We may have found an elite recruiter in Coach Bates. The new facility is doing some work. Jeff Scott gets a lot of credit, yet again, for this recruitment, but so does Coach Swinney who left an impression on the family.
The question now is how many spots can we open for all the players wanting to jump on board because we are almost full at defensive line folks. The original plan was Belk, Wynn, Henry, and oversign for Xavier Thomas. We might need to expand those plans because we can’t tell a 5* we have no room, right? What a time to be a Tiger.