The Clemson coaching staff has continued an inflow of talent at the secondary positions by adding four defensive backs among twenty 2012 commitments, including early-enrolling Travis Blanks, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 safety by ESPN.
Clemson will be able to cover its four starting positions, plus the nickel spot, with experienced players in 2012, despite the loss of starting corner Coty Sensabaugh, who played more snaps (nearly 1,000) than any Tiger last season.
Rising redshirt sophomore Bashaud Breeland should step into the corner spot vacated by Sensabaugh, with Xavier Brewer returning at the other corner position and Rashard Hall and Jonathan Meeks back at the safety spots.
Juniors Darius Robinson and Martin Jenkins combined to start nine games last season, and can play either corner or nickel, as can Breeland and Brewer.
In addition to Sensabaugh and wallk-on Kantrell Brown, the Tigers will also be without rising senior Carlton Lewis, who will transfer elsewhere to play his senior season after graduating from Clemson.
Returning Starters (4)
Rising senior Rashard Hall: 799 snaps, 89 tackles, 2 interceptions last season
Rising senior Xavier Brewer: 771 snaps, 60 tackles, 1 interception
Rising senior Jonathan Meeks: 744 snaps, 61 tackles, 3 interceptions
Rising RS sophomore Bashaud Breeland: 643 snaps, 53 tackles, 4 PBU
Other Experienced Players (4)
Rising junior Darius Robinson: 6 starts, 346 snaps, 18 tackles, 1 interception
Rising junior Martin Jenkins: started 3 of last 4 games, 304 snaps, 27 tackles, 6 PBU
Rising sophomore Robert Smith: 1 start, 59 snaps, 9 tackles, 1 interception
Rising sophomore Garry Peters: special teams regular, 12 snaps, 6 tackles
Players Lost (4)
Coty Sensabaugh: team-high 993-snaps, 40 tackles, 13 PBU, 1 INT, projected NFL draft pick
Kantrell Brown: original walk-on, special teams regular, 43 snaps, 10 tackles, 1 interception
Desmond Brown: Dismissed from team mid-season
Carlton Lewis: Rising fifth-year senior will transfer after graduation and play his final season elsewhere…143 snaps, 10 tackles
In The Pipeline (2)
Redshirt freshman Cortez Davis: 6-3, 195, Daytona Beach, FL…safety-sized, but was recruited as a corner
First-semester freshman Travis Blanks: 6-2, 195, North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, FL…graduated from high school in December and enrolled in January….he’s the highest-ranked player in Clemson’s 2012 class of commitments, ranked as the nation’s No. 2 safety and No. 12 player overall by ESPN.
2012 Commitments (3)
Ronald Geohaghan: 6-0, 185, Allendale-Fairfax, SC…he’s ranked as the nation’s No. 10 safety by Rivals
Cordrea Tankersley: 6-0, 190, Silver Bluff HS, Aiken, SC…a high school quarterback and safety, he’s ranked among the top 40 players national at both the safety and wide receiver positions.
Marty Williams: 6-1, 200, Fox Creek HS, North Augusta, SC…a big-yardage high school quarterback, he’s rated among the nation’s top 35 ‘athletes,’ and is projected as a safety by the Clemson coaching staff.
Remaining 2012 Target (1)
Ronald Darby: The 5-11, 180-pound speedster from Oxon Hill, MD is a five-star prospect ranked as the nation’s No. 1 cornerback by Scout. Formerly committed to Notre Dame, he recently re-opened his recruiting and has Clemson in the mix, along with Florida State, Auburn and LSU. He also stars in track, and had the nation’s fastest high school 60-meter dash time in 2010.
2013 Early Offers (2)
Nick Washington: 6-0, 180, Trinity Christian HS, Jacksonville, FL
Tramel Terry, 5-11, 170, Goose Creek, SC
2014 Early Offer (1)
Jalen Tabor: 6-1, 170, cornerback, Friedship Collegiate Academy, Washington, DC
Some 2013 Prospects To Watch…
Chocolate Wilson, 5-9, 165, Myrtle Beach
Nicholas Halmon, 5-10, 175, Bamberg-Ehrhardt
Darius Jones, 5-10, 175, Woodruff
Justin Bridges-Thompson, 6-0, 180, Spartanburg
Jadar Johnson, 6-1, 180, Orangeburg-Wilkinson
DeAndre Wilson, 5-11, 170, Myrtle Beach
Brian Walker, 5-11, 170, Charlotte-Mallard Creek
Dominick Johnson, 6-3, 180, Cary-Panther Creek
Desmond Lawrence, 6-0, 175, Charlotte Christian
Scott Miller, 5-11, 180, Statesville- South Iredell
Nolan Corpening, 5-10, 175, Charlotte-Vance
Breon Borders, 6-1, 180, Statesville
Khalil McCollom, 5-9, 160, Wake Forest
Vonn Bell, 6-2, 190, Rossville
Shaquille Wiggins, 5-11, 160, Tyrone
Darius Curry, 6-1, 180, Flowery Branch
Makail Grace, 6-2, 180, Rochelle
Steven Dekevich, 5-11, 170, Naples-Barron Collier
Tyler Serpo, 5-9, 170, Clearwater
Adekune Olusanya, 5-11, 195, Tampa-Sickles
Austin Logan, 6-1, 185, Tallahassee-Florida HS