By Keith McGonigle.
After watching film from the incoming 2010 defensive freshman, here is a cheat sheet of sorts on each player and how they may impact the program this fall.
Depth: 1st- Da’Quan Bowers, Andre Branch 2nd- Malliciah Goodman, Kourtnie Brown
Corey Crawford – 6’5”, 235 lbs., 4.76
Schools he passed on: Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina
Positives: Great awareness…Uses his long arms to push around tackles… Good tackler who is not afraid to deliver some big hits…Great athlete who looks comfortable dropping back in coverage and running with the ball.
Needs to improve: Does not have the weight to play defensive end at the college level at 235 lbs. (Da’Quan is 280 and Andre is 265 by comparison)… Slow off the ball at times
Upside: Corey looks like a great prospect just needs to add some weight. He already understands that the position very well and I think he could continue to the tradition of great defensive ends at Clemson.
Comparison: Mathias Kiwanuka (Giants)
Tavaris Barnes – 6’5” 250 lbs.
Schools he passed on: Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, North Carolina and South Carolina
Positives: Very strong and uses good leverage for a tall guy… good bull rush moves… great acceleration
Needs to improve: Played defensive tackle in college so will have to adjust… may not have many great pass rushing skills
Upside: Tavaris may be a little bit of a in-betweener, too small for defensive tackle but not fast enough to play defensive end. He is a good enough football player to make some impact plays anywhere. I think the Coaching staff may eventually have him add weight play defensive tackle.
Comparison: Aaron Smith
Depth – Jarvis Jenkins, Brandon Thompson, Miguel Chavis, and Rennie Moore
Tra Thomas – 6’1” 271 lbs.
Schools he passed on: Louisville, Duke, East Carolina, and Michigan State
Positives: Strong explosive player… very good acceleration and quick off the ball…good effort
Needs to improve: Little too aggressive at times… did not get double teamed that often
Upside: Tra dominated his competition in highs school, it may take some time for him to adjust to bigger stronger lineman, but he is still very strong and puts in a lot of effort.
Comparison: Brian Price (Buccaneers)
Josh Watson – 6’3” 285 lbs. (not much video)
Schools he passed on: Boston College, Duke, Florida State, and North Carolina
Positives: Very quick looks more like a defensive end… has a leg up enrolled at Clemson in January 2010
Needs to improve: May need to add some weight, he is 285 but looks like he is only 260.
Upside: Looks like an all-around good prospect; it helps that he will already have some experience.
Comparison: Jarvis Green (Broncos)
Will they see the field? The whole defensive line for Clemson is very deep, so for any of these freshmen to see the field they would have to be very good early. My guess is that Corey and Josh have the best chances of getting some playing time.
Depth- Quandon Christian, Corico Hawkins, Brandon Maye, Jonathan Willard, Scotty Cooper
Justin Parker – 6’3” 230 lbs. 4.65
Schools he passed on: LSU and South Carolina
Positives: All around good linebacker… Great instincts, reads and reacts very quickly…Already has good size… good in coverage…big time hitter
Needs to improve: Did not really have to take on blockers a lot, relied on his athleticism and quickness
Upside: He has all the things that you look for in a linebacker, it will be fun to see him roaming all over the field at Clemson. I think he will be the best defensive recruit from this class.
Comparison: Jerod Mayo (Patriots)
Will they see the field? Clemson has some good depth at linebacker this year. I still think that Justin will find a way to get on the field. Justin looks like a guy that will be ready to play from day one.
Depth – SS DeAndre McDaniel, FS Rashard Hall, CB Byron Maxwell, CB Marcus Gilchrist
Desmond Brown – 6’0” 192 lbs. 4.5
Schools he passed on: Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Tennessee
Positives: Great man to man cover skill… very good tackler for a cornerback… Helps out against the run
Needs to improve: Does not have track star speed
Upside: Desmond has good cover skills and likes to come up and hit, he is a player with a lot of upside.
Comparison: Antoine Winfield (Vikings)
Darius Robinson – 6’0” 170 lbs. 4.41
Schools he passed on: Auburn, Kentucky,Georgia Tech, and Miami
Positives: Good speed… Good tackler… Not afraid to come up and hit
Needs to improve: Played mostly safety at high school will need to adjust to playing more coverage… Could add some weight
Upside: May take a few years to add strength and get used to playing cornerback but looks like a good player.
Comparison: Domonique Foxworth (Ravens)
Martin Jenkins – 5’9” 170 lbs. 4.40
Schools he passed on: Syracuse
Positives: Great cover skills… good hands… solid tackler… great technique
Needs to improve: Below average height
Upside: Martin looked like the best defensive back on film; very good one-on-one cover ability, should be a good find for Clemson.
Comparison: Terrance McGee (Bills)
Will they see the field? The hardest position to start early has to be defensive back, so unless one of these guys has a great pre-season I don’t think they will be seeing the field.