Joel grew up in Hoover, Alabama where he graduated from Hoover High School. Joel attended Vanderbilt University on a full athletic scholarship where he majored in Economics and minored in Managerial Studies. While attending Vanderbilt, Joel was a four year letterman for Vanderbilt's football team, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Vice-President of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. Upon graduating from Vanderbilt, Joel attended the University of Alabama School of Law, where he graduated in May 2013. While in law school, Joel was a law school ambassador, a member of the Black Law Students Association, and also participated in the Civil Law Clinic.