Sophomore linebacker Lateek Townsend to transfer

Clemson's second defensive transfer this week, Townsend rarely saw the field in two seasons

Clemson linebacker Lateek Townsend tackles Wake Forest's Chibuikem Okoro during the fourth quarter at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson linebacker Lateek Townsend tackles Wake Forest's Chibuikem Okoro during the fourth quarter at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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.

Townsend was a part of a talented 2011 Tigers’ linebacker class with five-star rated Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony.

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.

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Comments » 8

TigerMarine writes:

Ok now I'm kinda worried. That's 4 that have left since seasons end. What is going on ? Granted none of them have been starters but depth is taking a hit. This could be a sign of weeding out the nonhackers and I hope it is but unnerving nonetheless. Anybody know anything ? Rumours or educated speculation ?

brookesdad729 writes:

I don't have a clue TigerMarine but do you think that with so many teams now going to the spread that we really need that many LB's or do we need to get more DB's and corners? I don't know but am I off base totally here? I just noticed that offenses are getting faster and defenses are playing catch-up. If we can get some of these studs to step up though we will be stout at LB. Shuey is my man! I really like the way he stepped in and is playing right now! Go Tigers!

Bleedsorange writes:

We are getting Ben the bull don't lose sleep.

Xander5000 writes:

I like having that depth incase some injury bug hits 10 players before during the season or before the season starts. Lateek was a bit of a project but he and Cortez Davis showed some productivity when they got on the field. That depth is important when facing Ga. Tech's scheme or whoever wants to power run against us.
We are building something here and its growing and I don't know why anyone that is ALL IN would want to leave that.......Barring family issues, financial issues, illness issues,....etc.

KerryCapps writes:

Many good points made in above comments...It's definitely a balance between LB types and DB types, and we're still waiting to see how Venables will go when he gets his own personnel...Both CB and LB positions were crowded, and both these kids want to play...I think we're embarking on new territory here, in several ways. It's going to be fun to see how it unfolds. I don't think there's anything to worry about. At this point, each situation seems unique to the player, as opposed to some trend of dissatisfaction, ie, mass exodus at Maryland...

TigerMarine writes:

After more thought we have outstanding freshmen (red shirt or true) coming in at each of the 4 positions.

KIMOSAMI writes:

Who can blame him? He was a very good HS player, and he looks to sit alot this season as well. If he wants to play college ball, go somewhere where he can play.

I don't see why the defense doesn't play more players anyway. Especially with the talent that Clemson has. Seems it would not only be good for endurance of the starters, but good for morale as well.

pmelvin writes:

I think Boulware will be getting playing time next season...that guy is a leader. I hate that Lateek couldn't progress fast enough, but I think that's what made this decision happen. Not worried.

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