Defensive Observations


  by - Radio Host - Wednesday, August 5, 2015 7:06 AM
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Defensive Observations
We got a little surprise yesterday when Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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announced he was going to let the media in for the full first few practices. Tomorrow we will write about the observations we made on offense, but today I wanted to share my thoughts on the defensive players.

Defensive Tackles
Remember this is the first day. Everyone looks good the first day, and everyone looks good in shorts.

This is a good looking group. Carlos WatkinsCarlos Watkins
RS Jr. Defensive Tackle
#94 6-3, 295
Mooresboro, NC

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batted down a couple of balls and had an interception on one of the most athletic plays of the day. He looks like he has returned to 100%.

DJ Reader looks to be in better shape than we have ever seen him. He moves well at his new weight.

Perhaps the most impressive player I saw the entire day was Christian WilkinsChristian Wilkins
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#42 6-5, 305
Longmeadow, CT

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. I started watching him in stretching period, and he was obviously as flexible as any player on defense. He moves like a defensive end. Fast twitch. Very athletic. This is just a different kind of player than Clemson has had here in some time.

If it not for Wilkins, Albert HugginsAlbert Huggins
Fr. Defensive Line
#67 6-3, 280
Orangeburg, SC

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might have been the story. He looks much bigger and stronger than the last time we saw him. Huggins also looked quick and athletic moving around in agility drills.

Scott PaganoScott Pagano
RS So. Defensive Tackle
#56 6-3, 295
Honolulu, HI

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, Rod Byers, Jabril RobinsonJabril Robinson
RS Fr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-3, 255
Leland, NC

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, and Sterling JohnsonSterling Johnson
Fr. Defensive Line
#93 6-5, 275
Clayton, NC

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moved around pretty well. I was shocked how big Gage CervenkaGage Cervenka
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#95 6-3, 275
Greenwood, SC

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has gotten.

Defensive End
It's pretty easy to see Shaq LawsonShaq Lawson
Jr. Defensive End
#90 6-3, 269
Central, SC

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is the most complete defensive end. He looks like his poised for a big year. Lawson just looks like the leader of this unit.

Kevin DoddKevin Dodd
RS Jr. Defensive End
#98 6-5, 275
Taylors, SC

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is a great looking physical specimen, but to me the biggest surprises came in a red-shirt freshman and two true freshmen. Richard YearginRichard Yeargin
RS Fr. Defensive End
#49 6-4, 225
Lauderdale Lakes, FL

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has gained good weight. When he got here he looked like a linebacker, now he looks like a defensive end.

Austin BryantAustin Bryant
Fr. Defensive End
#91 6-4, 250
Pavo, GA

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and Clelin FerrellClelin Ferrell
Fr. Defensive End
#99 6-5, 220
Richmond, VA

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are great looking freshmen. Both missed time last year but showed no signs of their injuries. They don't look like 18-year old freshmen. Bryant is 268 and Ferrell is 257. I can see both players avoiding a red-shirt season.

Linebacker
Linebackers are just waiting for pads before they make their impact, but this group has a bunch of options. BJ Goodson and Ben BoulwareBen Boulware
Jr. Outside Linebacker
#10 6-0, 235
Anderson, SC

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are both over 240 pounds and moved pretty well.

The two biggest surprises here were Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Safety (2012 - 2015)
#11 6-0, 210
Tallahassee, FL

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and Dorian O'DanielDorian O'Daniel
RS So. Linebacker
#6 6-2, 215
Olney, MD

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. Blanks worked with the first-team defense and showed no knee issues. O'Daniel looks like he is ready to take the next step. He is quick off of the edge on the blitz and also plays in space very well.

Secondary
This was the best looking unit on defense. There are a lot of options here. Jayron KearseJayron Kearse
Jr. Safety
#1 6-4, 210
Fort Myers, FL

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is a beast. Maybe it's his new number (1) and his 6-4, 224-pound frame.

It's easy to see Mackensie AlexanderMackensie Alexander
RS So. Cornerback
#2 5-10, 190
Immokalee, FL

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is a difference maker as well. His quickness and ability to change directions are off of the charts.

Cordrea Tankersly was the starting corner opposite of Alexander. He is a bigger option at the boundary corner.

Ryan CarterRyan Carter
RS So. Cornerback
#31 5-9, 180
Grayson, GA

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is physical, but lacks ideal size. Adrian BakerAdrian Baker
RS So. Cornerback
#21 5-11, 180
Hallandale, FL

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and Marcus Edmonds are skilled but still are not as physical as Tankersly. Freshman Mark FieldsMark Fields
Fr. Cornerback
#24 5-10, 185
Cornelius, NC

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is a very good looking corner who jumps off of the charts.

I was surprised to see Korrin WigginsKorrin Wiggins
Jr. Defensive Back
#12 5-11, 195
Durham, NC

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working more at safety as opposed to SAM/Nickel. Jadar JohnsonJadar Johnson
Jr. Defensive Back
#18 6-0, 200
Orangeburg, SC

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and TJ Green worked at the safety opposite of Kearse.

One player that caught my eye was Vann Smith. He is physical and simply makes plays.

Finally, Denzel JohnsonDenzel Johnson
RS Fr. Cornerback
#14 6-2, 190
Columbia, SC

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looked pretty natural at corner. He looks like he will stay on this side of the football.

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Defensive Tackle (2008 - 2011)
#98 6-2, 310
Thomasville, GA

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, Alvin Sammons, Georgine McAlhaney, Glen Davis, Mike Price, Clay Childers, Aaron Knight, Danielle Johnston and family, Nicholas Abrams, Lana Kuykendall, Gary, Gary G., William Huggins, Jim Bennett, Chantz Fowler, Ethel McElveen, Michele Gurganus, William Gentry, Lewis Usher and Tanya Sanders, Shon Cooper, Nick Collins, Amanda Peake, Danny Hammond, Chip Turner, Nick Collins, Allen Steen, the Sturkey family, the Lance family, Nick Chrisley's family, Allison Williams, Lt. Kyle Walker, Summer and Joel Johnson, Nicole O'Donnell, James O. Johnson, Joy Pruett and family, Bill Schmidt, Jack Bailey, Gardner Family, Charles Turner, Kathy Bartholomew, Ray Sanders, David and Robin Blocker, J.R. Ray, Kenneth Kowe, Lauren Sielicki, Jenna Phipps, Mark Lawrence, Jonathan and Jacki Sullins, Peter Laboy, Kat and Carlisle Jones, Elizabeth Galloway and family, Anita McDonald, Willard Harryman, Liz Surratt, Molly Senn, Jackie Shearer, Richard Sellers, Tim Drisdelle, Susan and Mike Brown, Julie Goodman Marshall, Willard and Dorothy Harryman, Justin Jernigan, Jack Cunningham, Mia Daughtery, Tee Senn, Bob Garrett, Skylar, Joseph Thomas, Mrs. Nelis, Jeanne Thompson, Sean Rowell, George Parker, Levon KirklandLevon Kirkland
Linebacker
# 0, 0
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and family, Catherine Sewell, Randy Davenport, David Vaughn, Keith Dalton, B.T., Bill Hilbig, Rita Elrod Hammond and family, Jim McKeller, Tony Alewine, Sharon Storck, Dick Baird, Richard Bagnal, Dustin and Brittany Peurifoy, Jan Allan, Josh Cox, Gregg and Sylvia Lewis, Travis Hamrick, Kaki Harmon, Jammie McKellar and babies, Karen Edwards, Jackson Lindsey, Cathy Hutson Gregg, Kristin Heckman, Jennifer Johnson, Jay Johnson, Lyndsie Johnson, Emily Davis, Hayes Davis, Judy Towe, Johnny Towe, Ken Brown, Elaine Brown, Rhonda Thompson, Tim Davis, Jacob Greinke, Jack Finley, Richard and Clara Crawford, Zach and Griffin Johnson, Israel, Frankie Allen, Bobby Allen, the Wessinger family, the Parsons family, Todd Price and family, Rosemary A Flynn, Dr. Mickey Shealy family, Mr. Gillespie, Bobbi Nicholson, Earl Gilstrap, Dr. Matt Stower, Tyler Kemmerlin, Parks Hutto, Patrick DeStefanoPatrick DeStefano
Offensive Line (2012 - 2013)
#71 6-5, 275
Spartanburg, SC

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, Robert Summerville, Wendell Harrington, Michelle Richey, Julie Moore, Ashley Fitch, Drew Moyer, Kevin Anderson, Lyn Price, John Robert SmithRobert Smith
Safety (2011 - 2014)
#27 5-11, 215
St. George, SC

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, Allison Williams, Nicholas Wickiser, Lena Wright, Donna Springs, Elizabeth Bruner, Bobbi Simpson, Hammond Family, and our great country and the men and women in uniform that protect and serve it every day, plus their families.


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