High School Football

Local high school freshmen land ACC, SEC football scholarship offers

South Pointe rising sophomore Derion Kendrick is one of a number of talented underclassmen in York and Chester counties that is already receiving heavy college recruiting interest. Clemson and Florida have offered Kendrick this summer, despite the fact he only appeared in six varsity games last season for the Stallions.
South Pointe rising sophomore Derion Kendrick is one of a number of talented underclassmen in York and Chester counties that is already receiving heavy college recruiting interest. Clemson and Florida have offered Kendrick this summer, despite the fact he only appeared in six varsity games last season for the Stallions. bmccormick@heraldonline.com

Josh Belk’s name is leeching out into the high school football recruiting landscape bit by bit this summer.

But college coaches already know about the Lewisville rising sophomore defensive tackle, who played just four games of varsity football last season for the Lions. Two weekends ago Belk picked up verbal scholarship offers from South Carolina, Clemson and LSU. The first two offers came after Belk participated and impressed in one-day camps at the in-state pigskin powers.

“Once it happened, I think it was kind of neat for him as a kid to get that first one,” said Lewisville coach Will Mitchell.

The third offer, from LSU and defensive coach Kevin Steele – the former Clemson Tigers defensive coordinator – came basically because of the first two. Mitchell pointed out that South Carolina and Clemson don’t offer in-state prospects lightly because they don’t want to risk offending local high schools and their coaches if they eventually decide to rescind offers. Steele and LSU wouldn’t have that concern, but if South Carolina and Clemson saw enough in Belk, that was good enough for the Bayou Bengals to follow suit.

Belk also recently attended a Penn State satellite camp at Davidson College where he further impressed and an offer from the Nittany Lions could come down the pipe any day now. Florida State then reached out to Mitchell to see if he could bring Belk down for a day-camp, but the coach declined the invitation, adding “he’s got plenty of time.”

Mitchell plans to filter any communication intended for Belk through his office, shielding the young man for a few years until he’s ready to deal with the recruiting onslaught that’s likely headed toward Richburg, and the greater area thanks to a number of similarly aged prospects in York and Chester counties.

“The boy’s just 15; he don’t need people calling him,” said Mitchell. “At 15, he can wait another year. Let him get a full football season under his belt and get him to his junior year, when the craziness starts.”

Belk’s natural strength is immediately evident, and he has some other innate qualities that stand out, too.

“The most impressive thing is his ability to bend and his explosiveness out of his stance,” said Mitchell. “He has a lot of great, really terrific explosion in his hips coming out of his stance. He brings a lot of power.”

Belk has dropped 30 pounds since football season concluded, and now measures 6-foot-3 and just over 300 pounds. Older Lewisville teammates have been pushing him in the weight room, further evidence that Belk’s potential is dawning on everyone around him.

“He needs to continually press his conditioning. He’s about 100 percent better conditioned than he was last football season,” said Mitchell. “Quite frankly, if he ever gets in super condition, people are gonna have real problems, especially playing 1A (schools).”

Mitchell – who has experienced high profile recruitments during his tenures at Chester, Brunswick (Ga.) and Ardrey Kell (N.C.) high schools – thinks Belk can be a top-50 recruit nationally by his senior year.

“Josh and his family are trying to take it all in stride,” said Lewisville’s coach. “He knows he’s got a long way to come. You know what he needs to do? He’s got to play some football games.”

Derion Kendrick picks up two big offers

Freshman Derion Kendrick started the 3A state championship game at safety for South Pointe, and for good reason. His athleticism and fluidity were clear immediately. Kendrick made 16 tackles in six games (four starts), and also intercepted a pair of passes during the Stallions’ playoff run to the title.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back is making an impression again this summer, and has already received offers from Clemson and Florida. Kendrick’s Clemson offer came when he was participating in the Tigers’ camp, and he also attended the UNC camp two weeks ago.

Josh Wilkes commits

Another South Pointe prospect, rising senior Josh Wilkes, got his commitment out of the way recently. He committed to Eastern Michigan on June 16.

Wilkes visited the school during the spring and his commitment follows a junior season in which he caught 47 passes for 607 yards and nine touchdowns for the Stallions, none bigger than the diving catch he made in the 3A state championship game against Hartsville. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound receiver had plenty of interest, including offers from Georgia State, Gardner-Webb, Charleston Southern, and North Carolina Central.

Logan Rudolph grabs two more offers

Appalachian State and Georgia State are the latest schools to extend scholarship offers to Northwestern rising junior Logan Rudolph. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end/defensive end adds the two to recent offers from Kentucky, East Carolina and Charlotte.

Rudolph attended the Tennessee camp on June 14, and also made trips to Wake Forest and Kentucky for similar gatherings earlier this month. Rudolph’s visit to Knoxville, Tenn., was his second this year after attending the Vols’ spring game several months ago.

Bret McCormick •  803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T

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