|by David Hood|
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd had just thrown his second interception of the Orange Bowl to give Ohio State good field position with less than two minutes to play. The Buckeyes trailed the Tigers by five and stood ready to drive starting from the Tigers’ 48-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, however, quarterback Braxton Miller was intercepted by Anthony, ending OSU’s hope of finishing the season off with a win. The Tigers would run out the rest of the clock for a 40-35 victory.
The next few weeks were a whirlwind for the junior from North Carolina as he pondered whether to return to Clemson for his senior season or enter the NFL Draft. Luckily for Clemson fans and for a Clemson defense that should be the strength of the program in 2014, Anthony opted to return for his senior season and build off what he started last season.
Anthony started all 13 games for the Tigers in 2013 for a total of 802 snaps. He led the Tigers in tackles with 131, including 13.5 for a loss of yardage. He also had four sacks, five PBUs, three quarterback-pressures, an interception and a fumble recovery. For his career, Anthony has played in 39 games and started 23.
Anthony told TigerNet in the spring that he felt like returning was his best option, but he also knows he can’t rest on what he accomplished last season.
“It was definitely the best thing for me. After sitting down with my family and talking for an hour or two, we realized that and I came on back,” Anthony said. “But to be great, you have to put the work in. People can say all they want to about us, but if we aren’t working we aren’t going to be there. We are going to set our own goals and our own expectations. It’s all about the work we put in. We have the personnel to do it. It was a tough decision but I made the right decision.”
Anthony was as good as any in the nation – his 13.5 tackles for loss in the top-10 among ’13 returners. He led Clemson in tackles seven of 13 games last year, but will have new starters beside him following the graduation of Quandon Christian and Spencer Shuey.
“I believe in all of those guys,” Anthony said of a group that includes Ben Boulware, Tony Steward, Dorian O’Daniel, Kellen Jones, T.J. Burrell and B.J. Goodson. “Whoever it is, we are going to ball.”
Anthony said he has been doing yoga in an effort to improve his game.
“I am trying to loosen my hips up,” he said. “I’ve been doing yoga, trying to get loosened up and work on my change of direction. I am trying to get better with that. I was talking to my dad and my parents and Coach V (Venables). The receivers are getting smaller and I have to keep up.”
For his career, Anthony has 240 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, seven sacks, two interceptions, seven quarterback pressures, nine pass breakups, three caused fumbles, and one recovered fumble in 1,553 snaps over 39 games (23 starts).
David Hood can be reached at email@example.com