With Tre Lamar turning professional a year early at middle linebacker and potential weakside starter Shaq Smith transferring unexpectedly to Maryland, Clemson has had to shuffle its depth chart a little at linebacker. Also consider the fact the Tigers lost other linebackers—Kendall Joseph, J.D. Davis, Judah Davis and Jalen Williams—to graduation.
That is a lot to replace in one year, especially in the middle, where senior Chad Smith now moves up the depth chart and will likely start.
Here is a look at Clemson’s depth chart at middle linebacker heading into fall camp.
Chad Smith, Sr., 6-3, 245 pounds: Smith has patiently waited for his turn at linebacker and now the graduate student will finally get his opportunity to prove what he can do as a starter. Over the years, Smith has been the perfect teammate. He has never complained and has waited for his turn. He has been one of Clemson’s best special team players the last three seasons. He has 74 career tackles, including five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He has played in 43 games the last three years. As a reserve linebacker last year, he was credited with 35 tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage and one sack, while playing in all 15 games.
Baylon Spector, So., 6-1, 230 pounds: Spector continues to improve in Brent Venables’ scheme. He can play middle or weakside backer. After redshirting in 2017, he played in 14 games last year as a reserve player. He also played on special teams. He was credited with 8 tackles, a forced fumble and recovered fumble. He forced and recovered a fumble in his college debut against Furman. He had a career-high three tackles against Duke.