2018 D.W. Daniel (S.C.) linebacker Jake Venables is very familiar with SMU head coach Chad Morris and many of the SMU coaches so when he visited for an SMU camp recently, it was great to get back together with them and catch up.
"I talked with coach McDaniel and visited with all the other coaches too because I know the majority of the staff. I talked with coach Morris too and his son is even coming out to stay with us for a week so talked to him too.," Venables said. "I really just visited with everyone and toured around. It was real nice. Was nice to see everyone since I hadn't seen everyone in a while."
Venables tripped to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and TCU too to camp at all the schools and he felt like each was different, but it was cool to finally start comparing schools.
"I thought each place was different in their own positive way. All the coaches and everything about each place is different. I liked everywhere I went and I enjoyed it," Venables said. "It was my first time going to TCU and Tech. Seeing those places for the first time, it was cool to compare and contrast the three new, different places. Obviously, I've been to Oklahoma before."
Linebackers coach Archie McDaniel impressed Venables on the field with his energy and passion for the game during SMU's camp.
"He's got a lot of energy and he's really passionate for the game. He knows what he's doing and what I like about him is he loves the game and loves his players. That's what makes him different'
Morris and Venables' dad, Brent, who's Clemson's defensive coordinator have a close relationship and that extends down to their families. Morris and the younger Venables are really close, which will be a big factor in his decision.
"He and coach Swinney, but really coach Morris and I are really close. It's his personality. He's a funny guy and he's really intense. He's upbeat and does everything at a really fast pace," Venables said. "He said despite the past few seasons, they were getting the place turned around and we need guys in like you and other big-time guys to help them do that."
North Carolina will also get a visit from Venables while Oklahoma and Notre Dame are also showing interest in Venables so far. All the schools consider Venables an instant impact player and they're looking for him to find the place he relates best to everyone early on.
"I want to go somewhere with a really strong academic side of things and I want a really strong relationship with the coach, wherever I go. I want to be close with the players and the rest of the coaches, but the main thing is strong academics."
This summer, Venables has put on 30 pounds since his sophomore season and now is at about 210 pounds, which has been a big focus for him.