Clemson's defensive depth chart took its second hit in as many days on Thursday, as rising junior linebacker Lateek Townsend revealed plans to transfer out of the program.
On Wednesday, Clemson confirmed that rising sophomore cornerback Cortez Davis is transferring.
Townsend, a U.S. Army All-American and four-star recruit from Marlboro County, SC, found himself stuck in a logjam at the linebacker positions and was seldom-used last season except on special teams.
He tweeted on Thursday that 'Clemson Football will always be apart of me!'
Townsend's Clemson career got off to a rocky start when plans to redshirt him as a freshman in 2011 were foiled by a four-game suspension imposed by the NCAA for receiving impermissible extra benefits from a high school coach not connected to Clemson. Had Townsend redshirted, his penalty would have rolled over to 2012. So he was activated for the final 10 games of the season and played in eight games on special teams. He finished the season as Clemson's top special teams tackler.
Last fall, Townsend continued to contribute on special teams, but was unable to work his way into the regular mix at linebacker. He appeared in three games from scrimmage for a total of 28 snaps, and played in seven games on special teams. He did not play in either the South Carolina or LSU games to conclude the season.
Competition is expected to be strong at all three linebacker spots as the Tigers prepare for the 2013 season. Spencer Shuey and Stephone Anthony return at the middle spot, Quandon Christian is a senior returning starter at the 'Sam' position, while Tony Steward is next in line at the 'Will' position vacated by Tig Willard and Corico Wright. Also competing will be rising sophomore B.J. Goodson and junior Justin Parker, and joining the mix this spring will redshirt freshman T.J. Burrell and Oklahoma transfer Kellen Jones.
The Tigers expect to sign three more linebackers next month - Ben Boulware of T.L. Hanna High in Anderson, S.C., D.J. Greenlee of Daniel High in Central, S.C., and Dorian O'Daniel of Good Counsel High in Olney, Md. Boulware and O'Daniel are ranked among the top 10 in the country at their positions.