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Joseph Charleston should bring a lot to Clemson's defense.

Clemson recruiting: What does Joseph Charleston bring to the field?

There’s something in these hills, and Sam Butler and the Clemson DieHards team have you covered on the Clemson recruiting trail as the defending national champions reload. Check here every Monday-Friday to stay on top of the latest news, and find every previous edition of the daily recruiting notebooks here.


Examining Joseph Charleston‘s fit on the field

Yesterday, we took a look at the thought process was behind Joseph Charleston’s commitment to Clemson and what he was like off the field. He wanted to wrap up his recruitment early — Charleston became Clemson’s first commitment in the 2019 class — and he felt comfortable enough with the Tigers to make the decision early.

But what about his on-field impact?

Charleston has good size for a safety (6-foot-2, 190 pounds). Players generally pack on weight once they enter college and begin participating in a school’s strength and nutrition program, so he’ll likely fill out his frame once he arrives.

As a sophomore in 2016 at Milton High School (Alpharetta, Ga.), Charleston had 69 tackles, 4 interceptions and broke up 6 passes. He’s got the ability to play all over the field, and he possesses the strength and agility to hang with receivers or break up a play they’re trying to make.

One thing stands out to his coach.

“The thing that jumps out to me about him is his explosiveness that he plays with,” Adam Clack, the coach at Milton, told Clemson DieHards. “He arrives very violently, and he can do it in one or two steps.”

This is Clack’s first year coaching at Milton, but in his short time with Charleston, he’s been able to observe what it is that earned the safety a 4-star composite rating and a top-10 position ranking across the country.

“Just his versatility and athleticism along with that, he’s got a big frame, but he’s definitely not a step slow with that big frame. That’s going to give Coach Venables a lot of options in the future and utilize him as he develops and matures.

“He’s 16, 17 years old now, so if you project forward three years, who knows? You’ve got those things that aren’t going to go away, so it’s just about who he grows into and how he best fits his scheme.

Some things you just can’t teach

Like Clack said, Charleston has tools that aren’t going to disappear.

You can’t learn how to acquire the physical tools he has, which are impressive as a junior in high school. But once he gets into defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ system, where the coaches can figure out how to optimize his talents to suit what is already one of the best defensive units, Charleston should flourish.

“It’s the quickness in which he can redirect and be at that explosive position,” Clack said. “Whether it’s down in the box and there’s a misdirection in the play where’s got to shed the block and get to the ballcarrier, he arrives with such explosiveness that it’s like he’s coming downhill from a 10-yard head start.

“You see the same thing when he’s at the back end, and his ability to read and break on the ball and separate receivers from it. All those things just show themselves time and time again.”

If things go according to plan and Charleston integrates himself with Clemson, the sky’s the limit.


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