BHP LBs Kendall Joseph, Eric Boggs breaking partnership to pursue college dreams

Run-stuffing Joseph headed to Clemson to work under Brent Venables, ball-hawking teammate will play at Appalachian State

Chris Mackey (Georgia Military Academy), left,, Kendall Joseph (Clemson), Eric Boggs (Appalachian State), and Jordan Watson (North Greenville) pose for a Belton-Honea Path football signees group photo in the school auditorium for National Signing Day.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Chris Mackey (Georgia Military Academy), left,, Kendall Joseph (Clemson), Eric Boggs (Appalachian State), and Jordan Watson (North Greenville) pose for a Belton-Honea Path football signees group photo in the school auditorium for National Signing Day.

It’s clear Belton-Honea Path linebackers Kendall Joseph and Eric Boggs have been teammates and friends for a long time.

On film the pair work in perfect unison, Joseph stuffing the run and Boggs displaying the type of instincts to run down any ball carrier. Off the field, the highly-recruited Joseph, who had been committed to Clemson since last June, still took phone calls from college coaches just to inform them about Boggs.

National Signing Day highlights from DWD and BHP

Now, for the first time in their lives they’ll head their separate ways. Both will be playing at the Division I FBS level with Joseph signing a national letter of intent with Clemson on Wednesday and Boggs inking with Appalachian State.

“We’ve dreamed of this day since growing up, us being able to play college ball,” Boggs said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s just a great feeling.”

Opposing coaches had differing opinions throughout the duo’s senior season as to who the better linebacker was. Joseph received plenty of attention from schools like Clemson, Louisville and Duke thanks to a breakout sophomore season and a tremendous junior campaign while Boggs didn’t hit the college camp circuit until the end of his junior year thinking his future was in baseball.

Joseph, who checks in at 5-foot-11, 228 pounds, battled through a sprained MCL during the 2013 season to finish with 118 tackles and was selected to the Shrine Bowl. His choice to spend the next four or five years in Clemson came down to what Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables brings to the table.

“I really want to hone my craft,” Joseph said. “Coach Venables has coached a lot of great linebackers. Everybody sees what’s going on with Clemson’s defense. I really think he can make me a better player.”

Both Joseph and Boggs will be matriculating in cities where the top priority is football. It won’t be terribly different from playing at B-HP.

“There’s going to be a lot of expectations,” Joseph said. “There’s going to be a lot of pressure. And pressure makes diamonds so I can’t wait to perform under pressure. I just want to make my town proud.”

App State was Boggs’ only FBS offer. The Mountaineers will move from the FCS level into the Sun Belt Conference next season and be eligible for bowl games in 2015.

It was important for Boggs, who had Wofford, Charleston Southern and Mercer after his services, to test himself against the nation’s best. “They’re smarter and better athletes. Overall, it’s better competition,” Boggs said. “I feel like I can compete at that level.”

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound North-South all-star led the Bears with 128 tackles (12 for a loss) last season, leaving him to believe bigger offers were headed his way at some point. When they didn’t come he decided to carve out a legacy in Boone, N.C. while making the rest of the country realize what they missed out on.

“I’ll definitely be playing with a chip on my shoulder,” Boggs said. “I may have been a little under-recruited, but App State is where I love to be either way. It’s a good place to be. I’ll play with that chip on my shoulder against teams that didn’t recruit me that much, but I’ll play hard either way.”

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