TigerSource looks at the starters, the depth, the newcomers and recruiting board for the defensive tackles.
Eric Coleman enters his senior season as the Tigers' top defensive tackle in 2004. Each year Coleman's role has increased. As a freshman he played 106 plays. As a junior he was in on 265 snaps and last season 306 plays. This season he should log over 500 plays if he stays healthy. Coleman is athletic and is poised for a big season.
Trey Tate played 281 plays as a sophomore including at least 15 plays in every game. Tate has long arms and can develop into a good pass rusher. His improvement is a key to this defense. Last season he showed signs of tremendous potential and other times he lacked discipline.
Donnell Clark only played in three games last season and only saw action for 22 plays. He is a very strong player that the staff needs to play 10-20 plays a game in 2004.
Corey Groover originally signed with the Tigers in high school and rejoined Clemson this spring. He started slow in spring practice but the last week of the spring he made tremendous strides. If he continues improve at that rate he will push Tate for the starting position. He could have the most upside of any defensive tackle on scholarship. Groover runs better than any tackle at Clemson this year.
Chris McDuffie red shirted last season and is currently suspended indefinitely.
Vontrell Jamison is a defensive end that could move inside to the interior defensive line.
Dorrel Scott has perhaps the best chance of any freshman to play in the upcoming season. Scott enjoyed a fantastic high school career which included a Shrine Bowl performance. He is a player that had big offers from ACC and SEC-type schools.
Elsmore Gabriel committed to the Tigers early in the process. An injury limited Gabriel to just four games as a junior. If he qualifies Gabriel could begin at defensive end but eventually move to defensive tackle.
Jacquez McKissick is a terrific looking prospect that signed with Clemson late after turning down N.C. State. His 6-7 frame and athletic skills made him one of the top defensive tackles in the south. McKissick is also still waiting on his final ACT score but if he qualifies he could push for the rare true freshman appearance at defensive tackle.
Xavier Littleberry and Akeem Robinson are two players we have discussed at other positions that may end up at defensive tackle.
The Recruiting Board
Brandon Sesay (6-5, 250) of Douglas High School in Atlanta, GA impressed Clemson coaches in camp this summer. The staff offered and Sesay has Clemson high on his list. He is one of six to eight prospects at Douglas High School. Sesay says he also likes Auburn, Arkansas, UCLA and Georgia. Burton Burns is recruiting Sesay for the Tigers.
Andrew McCain (6-6, 255) of Birmingham, AL is a prospect that has offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss. McCain is wide open among at this time and is not near a decision. Clemson signed four players out of Alabama last season and Dabo Swinney's presence helps the Tigers in this race.
Hivera Green (6-5, 255) of Conway, SC is the top defensive linemen in South Carolina this season. Green has 20 offers from some of the national powers but currently favors Michigan. Clemson has offered and have their best recruiter, Dabo Swinney, on Green but Clemson is way behind the Wolverines heading into the season.
Etta Etta-Tawo (6-4, 285) is another of the very talented group of defensive linemen in the Peach State. The Powder Springs, GA native has offers from Auburn, Clemson, Stanford and Maryland. Georgia and Florida also be a factor for this true defensive tackle. This is a very bright kid.
Cedric Gordon (6-3, 290) of Brooklyn-Cayce High School in Columbia, SC is one of the top defensive tackles in the state of South Carolina. Gordon is waiting on his first offer but Brad Scott and the Tigers will monitor him this season.
At this time we think Clemson would like to sign two defensive tackles in February.