Recruiting Notes: Venables' final pitch swayed Kendall Joseph from Duke decision

The Clemson Sports Blog

Wren's Dexter Jackson is hit by BHP's Kendall Joseph in the first quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Wren's Dexter Jackson is hit by BHP's Kendall Joseph in the first quarter.

Brent Venables apparently saved his best pitch for last.

The story of the latest addition to Clemson's 2014 football recruiting class nearly belonged to someone else.

Duke made a strong run at Belton-Honea Path High star linebacker Kendall Joseph during a weekend visit to Durham, and impressed Joseph to the extent that he was ready to commit to the Blue Devils when he made a courtesy call to Venables Sunday night.

Luckily for Clemson, Joseph called Venables before he called Duke coach David Cutcliffe.

According to reports on various recruiting websites, after spending an hour on the phone with Venables, Joseph reversed course and decided to commit to Clemson.

“To be honest, I’d actually picked Duke,” Joseph told CUTigers.com. “I was calling coach Venables to tell him. We talked for about an hour. He talked to me for a long time about certain stuff. After that, it kind of made me question my decision when I talked to my uncle and my grandfather.

“I just felt like Clemson was the best place for me, overall."

Joseph, like fellow Upstate star and incoming Clemson freshman Ben Boulware, is built for a role as a run-stopper in the middle. The 6-1, 230-pound Joseph made nearly 250 tackles the past two seasons, including 25 tackles for loss.

He is the third highly-rated linebacker to commit to Clemson, joining Korie Rogers of Buford, Ga. and Chris Register of Greensboro, N.C. Joseph is rated as high as the nation's No. 17 inside linebacker, while Rogers is rated as high as No. 2 and Register No. 11 as outside linebackers.

No Early Decision For Raekwon McMillian: Clemson remains in the lead group for Hinesville, Ga.'s Raekwon McMillian, the nation's top-ranked inside linebacker; but the rising senior star won't be making a college decision soon.

McMillian, who attended the second session of Dabo Swinney's high school camp last week, tweeted on Monday that he will wait until after his senior season to make a choice.

Clemson had hoped to take three linebackers in what is being projected as a 15-man class, but the Tigers would undoubtedly take McMillan as an over-sign at the position.

USC Commitment's Academics Comment Buzzes The Internet: The comment of South Carolina's latest football commitment, defensive end Arden Key of Lithonia, Ga., about his reason for choosing the Gamecocks is making for quite a buzz on national sports websites.

In an interview with Palmetto Sports, Key said: "The academic part, it's like you have to try to fail."

What Key meant may not be exactly what he said, but that won't stop rival recruiters from having a field day with the comment.

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DavidRBurns86 writes:

It is really not surprising that the prospect for South Carolina would say this. As was published in the O&W last year around bowl time, the University of South Carolina ranked dead last (70th) of the 70 college football teams that participated in bowl games. SC's graduation rate of 39% of its football players was the worst in the nation among bowl teams. Clemson's graduation rate is over 30 points higher and its commitment to academics, while fielding an outstanding team, is something to be very proud of.

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