Kelby Collins is one of the most sought-after defensive linemen in the 2023 class, with offers from close to 30 schools.
The 6-foot-5. 250-pound player out of Gardendale, Alabama, picked up an offer from Clemson back on June 1, the first day the Tigers offered prospects in the 2023 class. Collins told All Clemson at the time of the offer that one of the biggest things that attracted him to the Tigers was the stability of the coaching staff.
"Everybody there's like family," Collins said at the time. "What really, really sticks out though, everybody's basically been there. They have a lot of players on staff that used to play there, and a lot of coaches have been there for five-plus years, and Dabo's been there for ten-plus years. That really stood out to me that everybody has been there for a while and they have a lot of returning players on staff."
However, over the past few weeks, the Clemson coaching staff has seen a major shakeup, with much of the change coming on the defensive side of the ball. With Brent Venables now the head coach at Oklahoma and Todd Bates now his co-defensive coordinator, both of who were heavily involved in the recruitment of Collins, All Clemson reached out to Andrew Collins, Kelby's father, to get some insight into how the highly touted prospect now views the Tigers after all the changes.
"We talked about it and he feels it is a little bittersweet," the elder Collins said. "Excited about the coach getting an opportunity to have his own team but also realizing he was a big part of Clemson's program. It is always difficult when you establish a relationship with coaches and then they leave."
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Collins readily admitted that with so much turnover on the Clemson coaching staff, it only makes sense for his son to take a step back and rethink things.
"Whenever there is a coaching change you have to reevaluate the whole situation," Collins said. "So that is what he is doing. I told him he is in a good place right now. He has a little time to sit back and look at everything before he makes a decision."
Back in October, just ahead of his visit to Clemson for the Florida State game, Collins named his eight finalists, with Clemson making the cut alongside Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia, Auburn and South Carolina. Since then, Venables has also offered Collins the opportunity to play at Oklahoma, something Collins said his son will have to consider.
"Every day there is someone interested in Kelby which is a blessing," Collins said. "Now with offers from Texas and Oklahoma two teams that are coming to the SEC, I think you have to look at those teams as well. So he is just looking at everything and I'm praying that he will be happy wherever he goes."
However, despite all the change that the Clemson program has endured since the end of the regular season, according to Collins, the Tigers are still one of the schools at, or near the top of his list.
"Clemson is still one of the top schools he is considering," Collins said. "I told him to just continue to work hard and let the dust settle then make a decision on a school. At the end of the day, it doesn't change things for him at this time, Clemson is still in his top choices."
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