|Thursday, February 7, 2013, 2:55 PM- -|
In my business I always look at signing day as a milestone. It seems like life changes the day after signing day each year. I guess this is what accountants feel like on April 16th.
Clemson once again had a very exciting signing day. We knew going in that Montravious Adams was going to sign with Auburn, so Clemson was waiting on four players and signed all four. Signing day should be about the entire class but we all get caught up in the few that wait until the last day to make their pledge, so Alexander, Baker, Wiggins and Crowder helped the Tigers to a four for four finish.
Immediate Help on the Way
The last two seasons the biggest issue in this program has been the secondary. Time and time again we saw the secondary give up huge plays. Last season the two losses saw the opponents fly up and down the field through the air. You could make a point that if the Tigers would have had average secondary play last season they may have gone undefeated.
There will be a lot of new faces in the secondary in 2013.
Mike ReedMike Reed
Defensive Backs Coach
View Full Profile has taken over for Charlie HarbisonCharlie Harbison
View Full Profile as the defensive back coach and there will be an opportunity for the newcomers in the secondary.
I believe the strength of this class is in the defensive backfield and several of these newcomers will get an early look. It is rare to play as a true freshman but its not like these guys have to come in and beat out Lester Hayes and Ronnie Lott.
Speaking of Reed, I had a chance to speak to him briefly Wednesday and came away impressed. I have heard good things about him from my contacts at NC State and in the ACC. A couple of our staff members have also been complimentary as well.
Reed will bring a new outlook to the secondary and I think in time this unit will have a chance to improve. Blanks is a guy that the secondary can build around. I think Jenkins and Breeland can improve when they get fully healthy. Kearse, Alexander and Baker are the type of players that other national powers seem to be putting on the field as well. This unit may take some time to develop but I am encouraged by what I have heard about Reed and his new pupils.
Which Freshmen Will Play
It is way too early to tell which freshmen will play but since I get asked often I will give it a try.
I think one or both backs will have a great chance to play. There is a great opportunity for both to make their case to avoid a red-shirt.
I doubt either wide receiver will start or crack the two-deep but there will be opportunity for one if injuries occur.
Leggett is a good looking tight end that will go through spring practice. This will give him a better chance. He is not ready to block defensive ends at this level yet but I could see him used like Brandon Ford in the passing game.
I highly doubt either offensive linemen will play tis fall. There is good enough depth that the staff will probably not need to take the red-shirt off of either.
I think all three defensive ends will get a chance to break into the two deep. Lawson and Ogundeko will go through spring ball which will help their chances. Depth is a concern here so there may be a good opportunity.
I think O'Daniel and Boulware have the ability to play early but the question is opportunity. The Tigers are pretty deep at linebacker at this point. Special teams may present opportunities.
Obviously all of the defensive backs will get a long look. Johnson will get a jump start in the spring. Kearse is physically ready. Alexander is more talented than any other corner on campus. Baker is a rare talent as well. Nothing would surprise me in the secondary next season.
Clemson finished with its third consecutive top 15 recruiting class. I think this is a noteworthy accomplishment especially considering how few great instate players there were in this recruiting cycle. Often times it takes a great in-state class to propel a program into lofty recruiting rankings.
The encouraging thing is the state of South Carolina is loaded in the next two cycles. Clemson will have plenty of competition but it does help when the in-state talent is deep.
Speaking of the next cycle, Dabo said yesterday that Clemson could be limited to 12-14 signees next season. The issue is that there are so few seniors in the program next season.
Clemson will have only nine seniors next year they are: Boyd, McDowell, Smith, Thomas, Shatley, Shuey, Christian, Robinson and Catanzaro.
There is a good chance Sammy Watkins will have a decision to make after his junior season also, so the Tigers could lose 10 players before next January.
There is the great chance that several others will either graduate early or transfer out of the program, so that number could grow. However, I am not sure how it could ever grow past 20, so it will be a smaller class next February.
If we are to stick with the 12-14 number then the number by position could look something like this:
Again these numbers will certainly change as attrition hits.
I talked to one source today that indicated the Atlantic Coast Conference could release the 2013 football schedule next week. We know the opponents will be:
Home-Georgia, The Citadel, South Carolina State, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest
Away-South Carolina, Maryland, NC State, Virginia, Syracuse
What we could find out next week is the order and dates of each game.
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