Recruiting...did we fill our needs?



Clemson Roster along with redshirts for 2008 is found here. (Note this is a PDF download). The positional breakdown for 2008 is available on TI here.

Defense


Defensive End-Ricky Sapp, Alexander are Seniors. Kourtnei Brown is a Junior. You have to bring in guys for depth now so they arent starting as freshmen and sophomore (Bowers is a special case obviously). Malliciah Goodman could be the eventual replacement for Sapp, and Darrell Smith, if he stays at DE (he played alot of TE) would provide some good depth. B. Clear might get moved around some, and A. Branch will play a good bit.

DT-We lose both Rashaad Jackson and Dorell Scott along with Jock McKissic, thats big. Jamie Cumbie comes off a medical RS, also big. Rennie Moore redshirted, Drew Traylor is a scout teamer. A. Murchison is the lone senior we lose after 2009, but if Cumbie has a huge year he will leave. Miguel Chavis and Jarvis Jenkins will play alot at the other DT position alongside Cumbie, and I think Jenkins will eventually lock up the starting job. Brandon Thompson will play a lot but might not be ready for primetime. Tyler Shatley is a tweener, he will likely never start at DT at Clemson, he needs to put on too much weight (at 260 now)...so I suspect he will trim down and line up at fullback. Clemson rotates in all linemen, so rarely does anyone get RS'd. I think we should've brought in another player here.

Safety-Hamlin is someone we're going to miss, but maybe not so badly. DeAndre McDaniel is moving to SS from the OLB/Cat position he played in VK's scheme, which was essentially the same as a SS who just lines up closer to the LOS. Most of his responsibilities were the same run/pass reads, so it should be a very smooth transition. Chris Clemons wasn't a superstar, but his departure will show in our statistics this year, because Sadat Chambers only spelled him and didn't do much of note. On top of that, we will be running a new system which depends greatly on the Safety to make checks and calls. We have 3 freshmen back there from last year, so it would've been nice to sign on a JUCO safety for the added experience, but we only got Jonathan Meeks from a prep school (he has 5 to play 4). He will play quite a bit and I don't think they'll RS him. Spencer Adams is the next name you should look for to make a splash, if he has healed from the knee injury. Rashard Hall, Carlton Lewis, and Adams come off RS years.

LB-the new scheme by Steele will use LBs in a more traditional role, and will have 3 on the field most of the time, as opposed to the 4-2-5 we really played in VK's scheme. Shuey is a sleeper, who has the size at MLB we havent had since the '90s. Corico Hawkins and Shuey play inside and Quandon Christian is an outside LB. I expect Hawkins to stay at MLB, but he is undersized compared to Shuey. Christian is, in Napier's words, an Anthony Waters clone. Its pretty likely that at least 2 of them get RS'd. The only senior we lose is Josh Miller, and the other guys at LB are all talented and showed flashes last season. Maye is a future superstar, if he has the work ethic. Tig Willard and Tarik Rollins are coming off RS years and were highly rated, so I think we're great here in terms of depth, its just experience and playmaking that we need.

CB-This wasn't identified as a need for this season, although we lose H. Lewis. Xavier Brewer was RS'd last year and will step into the rotation. Coty Sensabaugh was not RS'd and played a fair bit. Its time for Marcus Gilchrist to step up and play real ball. Crezdon Butler will have one position locked up, and Chancellor or Byron Maxwell might get the other, both are seniors. Next season we will have to bring in players here.


Offense


RB-Although I still think its insane that we had to move Rendrick Taylor to RB and RS him, he's not going to play there this year. He's too big and slow. Expect him as an H-back in the standard multiple-TE scheme that we are still going to run this year. We lose James Davis, who might not be the biggest waste of talent by Bowden (can't surpass Ben Hall) but was certainly underutilized the last two years. Spiller being back allows us to be set at RB, and Jamie Harper will likely get the carries that Davis got. Hopefully they'll not give Harper the 10-15 per game that should go to Spiller, who we believe should get a minimum of 25 carries a game. Ellington is going to be a scatback type who will catch alot of passes eventually and will be moved around on the offense. I really hope Harper and Ellington are just used to spell CJ. Roderick McDowell was brought in from Sumter, and having seen him play against Gaffney I think he's going to turn out just a bit better at running inside than Ellington, but he's going to RS next year. You always need to take a RB in every class because it is an injury-prone position, so we did.

WR-We lose Aaron Kelly and his 3 drops per game. Tyler Grisham is the one I think we end up missing the most. Its nice to have a WR who will catch the football pretty much every time you throw it to him. Jacoby Ford is back and hopefully will get a lot more deep posts and vertical routes next season, as opposed to his 3-5 quick slants and other 5 yard gains. I get the feeling Xavier Dye will be the one to step up and eventually replace Kelly at Flanker, but Marquan Jones, Jaron Brown (RS), Brandon Clear and Brandon Ford (RS) could all step up and get the starting job at an outside position (Clear, B.Ford and Dye are larger WRs, small guys get inside slots in general). Jones is short and quick, so he'll probably be used in the slot if he starts, much like Jacoby. Terrance Ashe is going to soak up some PT to start the season as well, and given his size will likely be at X/SE. I doubt Bryce McNeal plays much this year, and hopefully they'll RS him because we do have some talented depth here who just need to DO something but Napier believes he's polished enough to compete. We would all have liked to have Kendall Kelly, but we have players here that were all highly rated, however we should've brought in one more reciever.

QB-Goodbye Cullen. Tajh Boyd gives us what is probably the best 3-deep at QB we've ever had at Clemson on paper, and in 2010 he'll get a shot to compete. Parker or Korn will lock up the job this year, and Boyd will almost 100% be assured of a RS year as Wade will certainly get the 3rd string spot because of experience. If Boyd doesnt get a RS, look for him at WR if he plays anywhere. They'll put him on the field. Richt was RS'd in 2008. Clemson didn't need a QB, and got one anyway.

TE-Since we never throw the ball to our most talented TE's I'm not sure there's much point in reviewing this position. Akeem Robinson is gone. They didn't intend to sign more than one, and its unclear whether Darrell Smith could get moved over. Terrell Mitchell was the only bonafide TE recruit on the board and he went elsewhere. We have Dwayne Allen, who was supposed to be a stud, coming off a RS year, but Durrell Barry and Palmer were RS Jr and Jr respectively last season. Rendrick Taylor will play here in 2009 as a RS Sr. Clemson really should've brought in one true TE.

OL-You have to bring in OL and DL every season and anticipate needs 2 years ahead of time, but OL was our Achilles heel in 2008. Dalton Freeman (G), Skinner (C), Kenny Page (G) and Matt Sanders (G/C) were RS'd. A. McClain (T) was not. Barry Humphries will be back as a RS SR and likely will take the C job, with Mason Cloy (RS Soph) and Thomas Austin (RS Sr) at Guard, since Austin's play greatly improved when he was moved there. Hairston (RS Jr) will get the LT job locked down because Lambert (RS Sr) doesnt have a clue. Landon Walker will get the starting RT job as a Soph. so we're set there for a while. Medlin and D. Smith will be there for depth at T and G. We're going to have to replace Austin, Humphries and Lambert (oh the horror of losing Lambert!) after 2009 and someone must step up. Newcomers J.K. Jay and Brandon Thomas are both Tackles, and at least one will RS, probably Thomas due to ACL problems. Since we brought in Guards last season, and Tackles this year, I think we filled our need with enough lead time.

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