CLEMSON — Hours after it was reported that Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt had spoken with Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables about the Red Raiders' head coaching vacancy, Venables was asked about the report Monday and whether there was any validity to it.
The Clemson defensive coordinator, whose name pops up routinely this time year in the coaching rumor mill, acknowledged that he did talk to Hocutt "recently," but would not disclose the specifics of that conversation.
Texas Tech fired coach Kliff Kingsbury over the weekend after a losing season.
"Kirby and I, as everybody knows, were college teammates and fellow linebackers and are very, very good friends. I talk to Kirby a lot and I've talked to him recently, but that's all I'll say," Venables said after a long pause to collect his thoughts.
"But I've got a great job and I've got great loyalty and appreciation for the people who are responsible for me being here (at Clemson). The players, coach (Dabo) Swinney, Dan Radakovich, our administration, our fellow coaches. I would never compromise the integrity of my job for other opportunities ever. Ever. That's not who I am."
Venables explained the commitment he made to his son, who now plays at Clemson.
"Just so people understand where I'm at right now, my son, Jake, is here (at Clemson as a freshman linebacker). He's chasing a dream. I sold that dream to him. My responsibility as a dad is to support him for as long as he wants to chase his dreams. Who am I to be a hypocrite, regardless of what opportunities are out there? That's how I look at it."
Venables, who came to Clemson before the 2012 season, has a reputation as a coach who likes being a coordinator and there have been questions for years about whether he wants to be a head coach.
He certainly has had opportunities to leave Clemson and hasn't, but he also did not boldly come out and squash the Texas Tech conversation as he easily could have. Hocutt played with Venables at Kansas State and is the Big 12 representative to the College Football Playoff committee in addition to a good friend of Venables'.
"I've said many times that I'm very thankful and appreciative of what I have and very aware of what I have and I've never tried to leverage one situation for another, ever. I would never try to prostitute myself out," Venables said. "If I'm worthy of something then let the powers at be decide."
Clemson co-offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott are also in the rumor mix this time of year, something Elliott spoke to Monday. Elliott was listed by several national media outlets to be a candidate at North Carolina, but it appears the Tar Heels have hired Mack Brown. Elliott's name has also been connected to Maryland as someone who would be a good fit.
Asked what it would take to pull him from Clemson, Elliott said he wasn't thinking about it right now. It seems Elliott does want to be a head coach at some point, but only when the fit and timing are both right.
"To be honest, I don't know," he said. "I kind of hate this time of year from the standpoint of, 'Man, I've got an unbelievable group of seniors, I've got an unbelievable group of running backs, we've got an unbelievable group of guys on offense that have been extremely committed to this program. They've been unselfish, they've been loyal, they've been committed and I don't want to be a distraction in any sense of the matter to those guys.
"That stuff, as I've said before, that's the Lord's plan, the Lord's timing. All that stuff will have its place. But right now, we're in the midst of a championship run and my focus is on Clemson. I owe that to this program, I owe that to coach Swinney, the staff, these players, that they get my best.
"For me, my focus is on Clemson football. I'm at home here. My boys were born here, I love it here. So I really haven't given much thought as to what lies beyond next week."
Clemson (12-0) is preparing for this weekend's ACC Championship game. The Tigers will play Pitt in Charlotte on Saturday night.
Jeff Scott a finalist for Broyles Award
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott is a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in all of college football. Clemson assistants have won the award in each of the past two years with Brent Venables winning in 2016 and Tony Elliott winning it last season.
Joining Scott as finalists are Alabama's Michael Locksley (offensive Coordinator), Army'S Jay Bateman (defensive coordinator), Mississippi State's Bob Shoop (defensive coordinator) and Notre Dame's Chip Long (offensive coordinator).
Clemson leads All-ACC honors
Clemson landed 18 players on the all-conference teams announced Monday.
Sophomore running back Travis Etienne and senior All-American left tackle Mitch Hyatt were on the first-team offense, while defensive linemen Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence landed on the first-team defense.
Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence and sophomore wideout Tee Higgins were both on the second-team offense, as were offensive linemen Tremayne Anchrum, Sean Pollard and Justin Falcinelli.
On the second-team defense were linebacker Tre Lamar and cornerback Trayvon Mullen. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow was on the third-team offense, alongside offensive guard John Simpson. Defensive end Austin Bryant was on the third-team defense along with linebacker Kendall Joseph, cornerback A.J. Terrell and safety Tanner Muse.
Receiving honorable mention recognition were wide receiver Amari Rodgers for all-purpose, safety K'Von Wallace for defense and kicker Greg Huegel for specialist.
2018 All-ACC Football Team
QB Ryan Finley, Gr., NC State, 130
RB Travis Etienne, So., Clemson, 174
RB AJ Dillon, So., Boston College, 162
WR Kelvin Harmon, Jr., NC State, 164
WR Olamide Zaccheaus, Sr., Virginia, 158
WR Jakobi Meyers, Jr., NC State, 141
TE Tommy Sweeney, Gr., Boston College, 158
AP Greg Dortch, So., Wake Forest, 172
OT Mitch Hyatt, Sr., Clemson, 172
OT Tyler Jones, Sr., NC State, 93
OG Chris Lindstrom, Sr., Boston College, 136
OG Parker Braun, Jr., Georgia Tech, 129
C Garrett Bradbury, Gr., NC State, 113
DE Clelin Ferrell, Jr., Clemson, 163
DE Brian Burns, Jr., Florida State, 120
DT Christian Wilkins, Gr., Clemson, 160
DT Dexter Lawrence, Jr., Clemson, 137
LB Germaine Pratt, Gr., NC State, 125
LB Shaquille Quarterman, Jr., Miami, 113
LB Joe Giles-Harris, Jr., Duke, 111
CB Hamp Cheevers, Jr., Boston College, 159
CB Bryce Hall, Jr., Virginia, 139
S Juan Thornhill, Sr., Virginia, 123
S Andre Cisco, Fr., Syracuse, 110
PK Andre Szmyt, R-Fr., Syracuse, 165
P Sterling Hofrichter, Jr., Syracuse, 134
SP Greg Dortch, So., Wake Forest, 127
QB Trevor Lawrence, Fr., Clemson, 106
RB Qadree Ollison, Sr., Pitt, 128
RB Travis Homer, Jr., Miami, 71
WR Tee Higgins, So., Clemson, 117
WR Jamal Custis, Sr., Syracuse, 115
WR Damon Hazelton, So., Virginia Tech, 76
TE Brevin Jordan, Fr., Miami, 58
AP Deon Jackson, So., Duke, 50
OT Tremayne Anchrum, Jr., Clemson, 60
OT Stefano Millin, Sr., Pitt, 60
OG Phil Haynes, Sr., Wake Forest, 87
OG Sean Pollard, Jr., Clemson, 72
C Justin Falcinelli, Gr., Clemson, 92
DE Zach Allen, Sr., Boston College, 112
DE Alton Robinson, Jr., Syracuse, 91
DT Gerald Willis III, Sr., Miami, 129
DT Ricky Walker, Sr., Virginia Tech, 63
LB Cole Holcomb, Sr., North Carolina, 98
LB Tre Lamar, Jr., Clemson, 82
LB Ryan Guthrie, Sr., Syracuse, 76
CB Trayvon Mullen, Jr., Clemson, 98
CB Essang Bassey, Jr., Wake Forest, 75
S Jaquan Johnson, Sr., Miami, 99
S Cameron Glenn, Sr., Wake Forest, 51
PK Christopher Dunn, Fr., NC State, 86
P Pressley Harvin III, So., Georgia Tech, 121
SP Michael Walker, Sr., Boston College, 78
QB Eric Dungey, Sr., Syracuse, 76
RB Darrin Hall, Sr., Pitt, 58
RB Reggie Gallaspy Jr., Sr., NC State, 49
WR, T.J. Rahming, Sr., Duke, 62
WR Hunter Renfrow, Gr., Clemson, 57
WR Nyqwan Murray, Sr., Florida State, 52
TE Daniel Helm, Sr., Duke, 31
AP Sean Riley, Jr., Syracuse, 38
OT Aaron Monteiro, Sr., Boston College, 58
OT Koda Martin, Gr., Syracuse, 55
OG John Simpson, Jr., Clemson, 67
OG Mike Herndon, Sr., Pitt, 59
C Jimmy Morrissey, So., Pitt, 47
DE Austin Bryant, Sr., Clemson, 59
DE Wyatt Ray, Sr., Boston College, 48
DT Demarcus Christmas, Sr., Florida State, 44
DT Ray Smith, Sr., Boston College, 41
LB Kendall Joseph, Gr., Clemson, 70
LB Chris Peace, Sr., Virginia, 64
LB Connor Strachan, Gr., Boston College, 58
CB Trajan Bandy, So., Miami, 68
CB A.J. Terrell, So., Clemson, 60
S Tanner Muse, Jr., Clemson, 49
S Will Harris, Sr., Boston College, 48
PK Alex Kessman, So., Pitt, 30
P Oscar Bradburn, So., Virginia Tech, 31
SP Joe Reed, Jr., Virginia, 54