USC’s defensive line got some much needed good news this morning with the official word that Clemson transfer DL Josh Belk had been approved for immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Belk has been practicing with the Gamecocks most of August but his status for this season was in limbo until Thursday morning’s release by the University.
USC head coach Will Muschamp had expressed optimism throughout camp that Belk would be approved for eligibility. Word began to leak out Wednesday that that would be the case, including a “Spurs Up” tweet by Belk’s attorney in Chester.
“Obviously, we are very happy to get the news from the NCAA that Josh is eligible to play this season,” Muschamp said in the release. “Our compliance department did a great job of making a strong case for Josh and the NCAA did the right thing in granting the waiver. I’m appreciative for everyone involved in making this happen.”
Belk was one of the nation’s top defensive linemen in 2017 at Lewisville High School and was selected for the Army All-American Game. He signed last December with Clemson and went thru spring practice before deciding to transfer due to what his former coach Will Mitchell called family health issues requiring him to be closer to home.
“There are some health issues in Josh’s family and it was necessary for him to get closer to home,” Mitchell said in May. Clemson granted Belk a full release with no transfer restrictions.
That immediately pointed the arrow at USC though Belk also pondered Georgia and Tennessee. He announced on June 8th his plans to enroll at USC.
Belk’s attorney Everett Stubbs issued this statement Thursday afternoon:
“We are extremely pleased with the results for this wonderful young man, his family, Coach Muschamp, Coach Thompson and the University of South Carolina Athletics Department. I can’t express enough the refreshing level of professionalism and expertise that Coach Muschamp and his staff and the USC Athletic Compliance Department operated with in this process. Very impressed with that whole crew in Columbia through this process and the synergy for which they have shown on this issue. It is obvious that there is no shortage of leadership and dedication within that program.”
Belk will immediately give USC’s defensive line a boost in depth, if not talent. He is listed at 359 pounds in game notes but has trimmed some of that weight in camp.
USC also has an appeal in to the NCAA for immediate eligibility for Southern Cal cornerback transfer Jamel Cook. There’s been no ruling in his case at this point.