Ready for the next best option

SPARTANBURG - Kendall Joseph would have graduated early from Belton-Honea Path High School if they would let him.

MLB Kendall Joseph Profile

Joseph said he has the grades to do it. But, without block scheduling, he won't have the credit hours to finish high school until the spring.

Although the three-star middle linebacker won't be able to participate in offseason work-outs, conditioning drills and spring practice at Clemson, he will take advantage of living so close to campus. Joseph plans to be a regular at spring positional meetings in the West End Zone.

"I'll try to two or three times a week, to try to get up there and write some notes down [and] sit in the film room," he said. "I can't graduate early, but I'm still kind of getting an advantage because I live so close to Clemson."

Brent Venables talked to Joseph about that a few days before he left for the Shrine Bowl.

"I asked a few things about shedding blocks, he told me some techniques and then he came to my house," Joseph said. "He came to my house and talked how I would be coming up in the spring, because I live so close, kind of sitting in the meetings and learning, trying to get in there early since I couldn't graduate early."

Venables also told Joseph that he could compete for playing time once preseason camp rolls around in August.

"Just how, if I pick the playbook up, he's not going to be afraid to try to let me play. I've got to do my part and he's going to do his," Joseph said. "He's going to coach me real hard. That's what he does. I look forward to it."

Which position he winds up at is still up in the air. It could be middle linebacker. It could be the weak-side linebacker spot.

"I could play both," Joseph said. "[Venables] is not sure. He'll just have to see what I do better at, but I can play MIKE or WILL."

Joseph added, "I feel like I'm pretty intelligent as a linebacker. I kind of know the position really well, so I feel like I can pick up both."

He's starting at middle linebacker for the South Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl. After practice earlier this week, Joseph told CUTigers that the Shrine Bowl experience was a good one.

"We're trying to get better, learn different techniques, different moves," he said. "It's really high competition. It's not bad. Really learning a lot of different stuff, techniques and having fun also."

Several of fellow Sandlappers have impressed him.

"Taylor Hearn, for one," Joseph said.

He went into detail:

"He's good. He's really intelligent. He doesn't really miss that many blocks," Joseph said. "When he gets his hands on you, it's hard to get off. He knows how to block. He's real physical, a big boy."

Scout.com ranks Joseph as the No. 28 middle linebacker in the class of 2014.

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