Jake Briningstool, the top college football prospect in Tennessee for the Class of 2021, has added something to his high school resume — outside linebacker.
The Clemson commitment and standout tight end at Ravenwood has played offense and defense since the fifth week of the season, something no one had to coax him into doing.
“It’s been pretty cool because my dad played linebacker in college,” said Briningstool, who is the No. 1 tight end in the country and No. 81 overall prospect nationally. “That’s been cool to get teaching from him and him being at the games. He’s been able to critique me and tell me what I’m doing well.”
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Briningstool’s dad Tony played linebacker at Michigan State from 1988-91. The Spartans were the first Big Ten school to offer the younger Briningstool.
But defense was somewhat new to Briningstool, who hadn’t played defense since his freshman year of high school at Clarksville Academy. But even that wasn’t an extensive amount.
He hadn’t played any defense since arriving at Ravenwood prior to his sophomore season. However, he has stood out since joining the defense in Week 5 when Ravenwood traveled to Brentwood.
Clemson recruiting: Ravenwood tight end Jake Briningstool makes mark with one-handed, falling down catch
He has 31 tackles with nine for loss. He also has six sacks.
“Having Jake play defense was a conversation that started in the offseason — wondering how to replace the 30-plus sacks we lost to graduation,” Ravenwood coach Matt Daniels said. “We waited a few weeks into the season to let him get comfortable on offense with a new offensive coordinator and a new QB. When we moved him over, the payoff was instantaneous.”
His success on defense has caught the eye of at least one Clemson assistant — defensive line coach Lemanski Hall, who recruits the Middle Tennessee area and is a former Nashville area high school assistant.
“I haven’t been vocal about (playing defense) or put highlights out there about me playing defense,” Briningstool said. “Coach Hall has texted me back-and-forth just joking about me playing defense.
“Their defensive line is pretty stacked, so I think I’m stuck on offense.”
Oh, and that’s more than fine for Briningstool, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound athlete.
Briningstool has 32 catches for 682 yards and 11 touchdown catches through nine games in the 2020 Tennessee high school football regular season. He also had a 51-yard kickoff return for a touchdown off an onside kick against Pulaski Academy (Arkansas).
It’s even more impressive knowing how much he is on the field this season.
“He wants to play every down,” Daniels said. “He wants to help our team win any way he can.”
Briningstool has shown off his athleticism this season, using his lanky frame to his advantage. He’s had multiple touchdowns this season where he’s leaped over defender from a pass from Trevor Andrews, hauling it in for a touchdown or long gain.
“Our chemistry is doing well,” Briningstool said. “He’s throwing it up and letting me go get it.”
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-259-8089 or [email protected] and on Twitter @Kreager.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Why Jake Briningstool, a Clemson commitment and Tennessee’s top college football recruit, started playing defense this year