This time last year, the number one concern on the roster was Clemson’s depth at both safety positions. The Tigers had Tanner Muse returning at free safety and K’Von Wallace back at strong safety, but there was little experience or bodies to back them up.
As the season went along, Denzel Johnson and Nolan Turner proved themselves to be capable backups as Clemson went on to win a second national championship in three years.
This year, the coaches feel way better about both positions heading into fall camp. All four safeties from a year ago are back, plus they added some talented depth with the 2019 signing class.
Here is what Clemson’s depth chart should look like at free safety heading into fall camp.
Tanner Muse, Sr., 6-1, 230 pounds: Muse is one of the best athletes on the team and also might be the fastest as well. He has the size and strength to play linebacker. He is a veteran safety who enters his senior season with 164 career tackles. He has 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 10 passes broken up, 3 interceptions, one interception return for a touchdown and one fumble return for a touchdown. He also has a forced fumble to his credit, too. He has played in 44 games and has started 24 of them. Last year, Muse was a third-team All-ACC selection after he recorded 76 tackles, broke up five passes and had two interceptions. He also had 2.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks.
Denzel Johnson, Sr., 6-0, 205 pounds: Johnson has played in 40 games in his career, all as a backup. He has 56 career tackles. Forty of those tackles came last season. He also broke up three passes and recorded two tackles for loss. His best game came against South Carolina as he recorded five tackles and a pass breakup. He also notched a career-high seven tackles against Louisville.
Joseph Charleston, Fr., 6-2, 190 pounds: Charleston enrolled in school in January and went through spring drills. Was one of the standouts during the spring from the early enrollees. In high school, he was one of the top 150 players nationally. While at Milton (Ga.) High School, he had a team-best 83 tackles, nine tackles for loss, two caused fumbles, a fumble return of 46 yards and two interceptions as a senior. He helped his team to the Class 7-A state championship, a first for the Milton High program.