Soon both Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence will leave massive shoes to fill in the middle of the Clemson defensive line. Adding prospects like Josh Belk will go a long way in replacing their superstar production.
Committing to Clemson in early 2017 over South Carolina, Belk is explosive and strong off the ball. He moves extremely well for a player over 300 pounds and gets off the blocks at an elite level. Expect Belk to line up as a potential 3-tech or possibly even nose tackle as he continues to add strength. Belk is a 4 star player with a .9393 rating from 247. His primary recruiter was Jeff Scott though Todd Bates did an excellent job of helping to close with Belk.
Palmetto Champions Class A Lineman of the Year Josh Belk pic.twitter.com/zOSHHVHQHY— LewisvilleFootball (@CoachWMitchell) December 1, 2017
Because Belk played lesser competition at a smaller school, he can get by on size alone and as a result his technique is not as polished. To be fair to Belk, he completely dominated said competition, but will have a learning curve when he enrolls in January.
Belk is rated in or around the top 100 players nationally by most services, which is a fair and accurate evaluation in my book. Josh Belk has all the tools to be a force inside for the Tigers, and continue Clemson’s dominant interior line play for years to come.
Josh Belk was one of the more polarizing players with regards to rankings in the Clemson class. Some had him pegged as a top 50ish player early in the process and then Rivals decided to drop him to a 3* prospect outside the top 300 of players. He ended up as the composite 139th overall prospect with Rivals torpedoing the ranking.
So is Belk appropriately ranked just inside the top 100 or should he be considered a developmental prospect? The first half of Belk’s senior season he did not look like the same player he did in his junior year. Belk was just mauling the lesser competition his junior year, throwing around the small school players like a guy with his raw athleticism should. To begin his senior year he was a bit out of shape and not showing that motor you want on every down. But that happens when you are playing against competition that is half your size. Belk was able to put it together and finish strong. I want to see him against better competition in the Army Bowl before stating anything definitive, but right now I have him as a top 150 player who is knocking on that top 100 level, especially when you consider this is a down year for DTs. It increases his stock.
Belk has the size at around 6’2, maybe 6’3. He will need to reshape his body a bit, but he started doing that towards the end of his senior year. There will be an adjustment period where Belk will need to learn how to be a college player and he will need to adjust to the work ethic and rigor demanded at Clemson. Belk is the classic raw, unrefined state of South Carolina talent (much like XT his junior year, who was then able to go to IMG and continue to develop against better competition).
Ideally Belk could play the nose tackle position, but whether he plays the 3 tech or nose will likely depend on how his body continues to develop in college. Belk gives you plenty of upside. Give him some time to go through the maturation process and work on his technique and keeping his pad level down. Belk has the raw athleticism to be as good as any DT in this class though.