Brent Venables will return a stronger core of more experienced players next season, though he still faces the springtime task of replacing some key figures on Clemson's defense.
The Tigers lose four of their top six tacklers to graduation, including linebacker Tig Willard, who led the team with 95 stops. Safety Rashard Hall was third with 85 tackles, cornerback/safety Xavier Brewer was fifth with 64, and safety Jonathan Meeks was sixth with 62.
The Tigers' top returning tacklers are middle linebackers Spencer Shuey and Stephone Anthony, who combined for 170 tackles last season - 93 for Shuey, which ranked second on the team, and 77 by Anthony, which ranked fourth.
Clemson also loses defensive end Malliciah Goodman, who had 28 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Clemson returns the players who ranked 7th-14th in tackles: defensive tackle Josh Watson (54), defensive back Travis Blanks (51), defensive tackle DeShawn Williams (50), defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (49), defensive end Corey Crawford (47), linebacker Quandon Christian (40), defensive tackle D.J. Reader (40), and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (32).
Clemson's return statistical leaders in various categories include Shuey, with 95 tackles; Jarrett, with 8.5 tackles for loss; defensive end Vic Beasley, with eight sacks, Watson, with 12 quarterback pressures; cornerback Garry Peters, with eight PBUs; and Tony Steward, with 12 special teams tacklers.
Five players return who had one interception each - cornerback Darius Robinson, Peters, Christian, Anthony and Blanks. Anthony, Beasley, Christian, Cortez Davis and Watson each had one forced fumble, while Blanks recovered two fumbles.