Vols Positioning for High-Profile Clemson Transfer.

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    Photo via tigernet.com

    In January, Josh Belk enrolled at Clemson as a 5-Star and the number one Defensive Tackle in the 2018 class. Now, the big incoming freshman is headed elsewhere.

    Tennessee is already in contact with the high-profile lineman.

    “I will be transferring from Clemson University,” Belk said this past week. “I appreciate the Clemson staff, fans and Coaching staff. Thanks to Coach Swinney for the opportunity. Nothing bad to say about the University and my time there. Just feel that it’s the best decision for my family and I.”

    Clemson is allowing Belk an unconditional transfer, though he’ll still have to sit out this year without a special allowance by the NCAA.

    While his tweet gave no reason for this transfer, Belk’s HS coach explained earlier this week that the transfer stems from an ongoing health issue within the family, and that Josh needs to be closer to home. That’s where Tennessee’s odds of landing Belk get a bit strained.

    Along with Tennessee, Belk has already been in contract with South Carolina defensive line coach Lance Thompson. If the issue is distance from home, South Carolina is significantly closer to Richburg (54 miles) than Knoxville (over 4 hours).  Clemson was just over 2 hours away.

    Giving a 5-star recruit an unconditional release, including a historic rival such as South Carolina, leads one to believe in the delicate nature of the family situation.  The allowance by Clemson is also a sharp contrast to our story from last week about Alabama’s strict conditions on graduate transfers.

    As of now, Tennessee and South Carolina are the only schools known to have contacted Belk, but he isn’t enrolling until August, so expect this situation to be fluid throughout the summer. Richburg is also relatively close to other programs like North Carolina, Duke, NC State, and Georgia. Assuming the situation continues to keep him in need of close proximity, expect these programs to reach out.

    If he decides to look further, expect waves of attention from every corner of college football headed for Richburg this summer.

    Wil Wright is an SPJ award-winning sportswriter with a decade of experience covering University of Tennessee football and basketball. He saw his first Vols football game in blankets and was in the Pride Of The Southland Marching Band for Tennessee’s 1998 undefeated national championship. Outside of sports, Wil is a video editor, a veteran of the East TN music scene, a dad, and a husband.