No. 16 Most Valuable Tiger: Bashaud Breeland

Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland (17) breaks up a pass for Virginia Tech wide receiver Jarrett Boykin(81) in the fourth quarter in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland (17) breaks up a pass for Virginia Tech wide receiver Jarrett Boykin(81) in the fourth quarter in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

— 2011 wasn’t easy for Bashaud Breeland.

There were times when the redshirt freshman cornerback was picked on by opposing quarterbacks, as is common for a newcomer playing alongside Coty Sensabaugh, who’d become a fourth-round pick of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

Playing in Kevin Steele’s complex system didn’t help matters, either; West Virginia’s Orange Bowl bludgeoning was a debacle for every Clemson defender.

Amid the struggles, however, there were clear positives. Take the one-hand interception that sparked Clemson’s rally from an 18-point second-half deficit to a 56-45 win at Maryland.

Or the 64-yard interception return against Virginia Tech in the ACC title game.

At 6-foot tall, 185 pounds, Breeland has acceptable size and excellent versatility and athleticism.

Following spring practice, he was listed as a starting cornerback, opposite rising junior Darius Robinson.

His potential and skills make Breeland Clemson’s No.16 most valuable player on our top 20 countdown.

Versatility is Breeland’s most crucial calling card. At Allendale-Fairfax High School, he played all over the field. As a senior, he rushed for 1,270 yards and 15 touchdowns as an athletic quarterback, but also played defensive back, scoring twice and adding two interception returns for scores in a single game.

Rivals.com rated him as the No.55 athlete prospect in the nation, while Scout.com rated him as the No.22 safety. ESPN rated him as the No.56 safety.

Breeland redshirted last fall, but saw significant playing time all season. He played in all 14 games, starting seven, rolling up 643 snaps. He had 53 tackles, four pass breakups and the aforementioned two interceptions.

Two years ago, Clemson’s secondary was keyed by Marcus Gilchrist, who moved effortlessly between corner, safety and nickelback.

While it remains uncertain if Breeland can duplicate the success of Gilchrist, entering his second season with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, he certainly has the potential to do so.

This fall, he’ll get even more playing time opposite Robinson and ahead of junior Martin Jenkins and redshirt freshman Cortez Davis in the cornerback rotation.

Breeland doesn’t say much, but he speaks volumes with his actions.

With a year of experience under his belt and an offseason to learn from his mistakes, Breeland should only be better this fall.

That’s why he’s one of Clemson’s most valuable players.

© 2012 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 3

FutureClemsonFootballPlayer writes:

in response to sennmanthetigerfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The only thing i would think about replacing is Tahj and Andre simply because when Tahj really started throwing interceptions and "seeing things", thats when the team really unfolded. While Andre still had a 100 yrd game (first half) against WVU.

Lynx26 writes:

Well considering the fact that Brandon Thompson was drafted by The Bengals... He's in camp battling to make the roster. (True fan or poser?)

FutureClemsonFootballPlayer writes:

in response to Lynx26:

Well considering the fact that Brandon Thompson was drafted by The Bengals... He's in camp battling to make the roster. (True fan or poser?)

There is another Brandon Thompson on the offensive. Check YOUR facts before you question anothers.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features