Where the rubber meets the road

CLEMSON - Brent Venables may not have a ton of experience recruiting around the southeast, but he does have a track record of reeling in blue chip talent.

In 2011, Venables helped Oklahoma sign four-star safety Frank Shannon and four-star tight end Max Stevenson.

Venables recruited five-star outside linebacker Corey Nelson, four-star defensive end Geneo Grissom and four-star outside linebacker Aaron Franklin to Norman in 2010.

A year earlier, Venables played a big role in bringing in five-star outside linebacker Ronnell Lewis, four-star outside linebacker Tom Wort, four-star middle linebacker Jaydan Bird, four-star cornerback Marcus Trice and four-star defensive end Justin Chaisson.

Over the years, Venables also had a role in the recruitment of five-star running back DeMarco Murray, five-star defensive end R.J. Washington and four-star safety Joesph Ibiloye.

The majority of Venables' recruiting work for the Sooners was done in Oklahoma and Texas.

"I can go anywhere," he said. "It's about being a people person, developing relationships.

"People know you're sincere. People either trust you or they don't. They sense your passion or they don't. I think that's a strength of mine."

But the first-year Clemson defensive coordinator admitted he'll have some work to do when it comes to figuring out the lay of the land in the states Clemson recruits the hardest.

"I'll have to pull out an atlas and be able to use the navigation system," he said.

Venables has recruited a variety of areas during his time at Oklahoma and Kansas State.

"I've actually had some experience the last couple of years in D.C., Baltimore, the Virginias. I recruited up in Jersey from Oklahoma," he said. "I used to recruit Florida when I was at Kansas State. I had Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach. I recruited Tampa this year and years past as well.

"At Oklahoma, we actually recruited a little bit more nationally. I've been into Atlanta. I don't have the deep-seeded relationships that are ultimately my responsibility to develop, but I'll go anywhere and recruit."

His recruiting philosophy is simple.

"Follow the players then develop the relationships from there," Venables said.

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