Former four-star defensive tackle Josh Belk, who was one of the top interior defensive linemen in the country for the class of 2018, announced on Wednesday that he was transferring from Clemson.
Belk’s high school coach, Will Mitchell, said Belk was leaving Clemson to be closer to home to help out a family member dealing with an ongoing health issue.
As soon as news broke that Belk was transferring, there was speculation as to why he was leaving, including that he did not get along with the Tigers coaching staff and that he might have gotten into trouble at Clemson.
But Belk’s lawyer, Everett Stubbs, told The State on Thursday that those rumors are not true.
“Josh has not been in any trouble. He’s been an exemplary student. He’s leaving with a 3.0 GPA. He’s done everything all the coaches have asked of him,” Stubbs said. “This is not one of those situations where the kid’s been in trouble or had-run ins with coaches. He just needed to make some moves that were best for him and his family.”
The fact that Belk is being represented by a lawyer also raised eyebrows, but Stubbs said he got involved simply to help out a local kid.
Belk and Stubbs were at a local event when Belk approached Stubbs and told him that he was considering transferring but that he did not know much about the process and how it works.
The two had spoken only briefly before, but Belk knew Stubbs was a lawyer and went to him for advice.
“I was like, ‘I think I want to help this kid with this process.’ I did a little bit of research, and I did see that sometimes it can be an uphill battle … We just started meeting a little bit and I told him I’d do everything I could to take care of him. His whole decision process was very thought out. I don’t think it happened on a whim. I think it had been months in the making. I just felt that if my kid was in that position, I would want someone to also help him,” Stubbs said. “He didn’t know what all it would entail, and, to be honest with you, I didn’t know either. I had to do research.”
Belk was granted his unconditional release on Wednesday, allowing him to transfer to any school in the country.
"It's not something I expected," Belk said. "Nothing bad against the university or coaching staff. I appreciate everything and them taking their time out to coach me and give me the opportunity. But sometimes, things just happen and you have to move on."
As expected, schools already are letting Belk know of their interest. He said South Carolina and Tennessee contacted him.
Belk will wait until August before enrolling at his new school, he said.
“Clemson University made this as smooth as possible once Josh addressed his concerns and his needs and wants as far as him and his family goes,” Stubbs said. “I have a newfound respect for Dabo Swinney and Clemson University because they could’ve made this process a lot harder.”
Phil Kornblut contributed.