Looking ahead, position-by-position: safety
No. 1 question mark: With the loss of three multi-year starters in Rashard Hall, Jonathan Meeks and Xavier Brewer, who'll step up and play alongside Travis Blanks?
The depth chart: While the Tigers return five players with substantial experience at the cornerback spots, defensive coordinator Brent Venables and new secondary coach Mike Reed will be looking for new starters at both safety positions. Travis Blanks got a head start when he moved to safety during bowl practice, after earning Freshman All-America honors while serving as the Tigers' nickel back last fall.
Rising junior Robert Smith is first in line at the other position. Smith has played sparingly (164 total snaps) in the secondary over the past two seasons, while serving as a regular on special teams. "Robert has just been waiting for Meeks and Hall and Brewer to get out of here," Dabo Swinney said recently.
Redshirt freshman Ronald Geohaghan, who was rated as the nation's No. 10 safety out of high school, will also be in the mix, along with early-enrolling freshman Jadar Johnson. Cordrea Tankersley expects to enroll next summer after spending the fall at Hargrave Military. Also working at safety will be walk-on Taylor Watson.
Recruiting prospects: In addition to Tankersley, a hold-over from Clemson's 2012 recruiting class, the Tigers have a commitment from 6-4, 205-pound Jayron Kearse of Fort Myers, Fla.
Clemson has a commitment for 2014 from Dylan Sumner-Gardner of Mesquite, Texas. Other targets include Todd Kelly Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., Nick Glass of Suwanee, Ga., Quin Blanding of Virginia Beach, Va., Jefferie Gibson of Hope Mills, N.C., Johnathan Lloyd of Graham, N.C., and Ronnie Clark of Calera, Ala.