Clemson owns big-time rotation at CB
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TIGERILLUSTRATED.COM will continue its post-spring analysis features throughout the week.
With post-spring interviews with assistant coaches in the books, Tigerillustrated.com is now releasing its annual post-spring position analysis features, today highlighting the Tigers' cornerback rotation.
CB Frontrunner: Chris Chancellor
Size: 5-10, 170 pounds.
2008 season: Had another stellar season, starting 13 games, tallying 37 tackles, nine PBU and 4 INT. Now has 30 starts, 127 tackles, 23 PBU and 8 INT in his career.
CB Frontrunner: Crezdon Butler
Size: 6-0, 190 pounds.
2008 season: Started all 13 games, and registered 52 tackles, 6 PBU and 4 INT. Now has 26 starts, 147 tackles, 11 PBU and 10 INTs in his career.
Other contenders for significant action - Marcus Gilchrist (5-11, 180), junior; Byron Maxwell (6-1, 195), junior; Coty Sensabaugh (6-0, 180), sophomore.
2008 recap - This unit was again outstanding in 2008, and a big reason why Clemson ranked 12th in the nation in pass defense. In fact, that figure represents continued improvement for a group that ranked 29th in pass defense in 2005, followed by a No. 24 ranking in 2006, and a 13th-rated marker nationally in 2007.
Off-season Prospectus - Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and co-coordinator Charlie Harbison rest easy at night, given the fact that this entire stable's two-deep rotation is comprised of starter-worthy players, as tabbed by Steele, who went out of his way in post-spring interviews, noting that he doesn't view this rotation as merely one of two starters, but four. And all four two-deep contributors have lived up to their prep billing, which regarded all four as four-star prospects. If this group can ignore off-season hype, as they will be tabbed the top cornerback rotation and or tandem in the ACC, they will have the grounding and focus needed for another stellar campaign.
Checking The Pipeline - Both Butler and Chancellor are consistently under 4.45 seconds in the forty-yard dash. Tigerillustrated.com tabs Chancellor as the superior of the two. The Miami (FL) native has outstanding flexibility and coverage skills. He's also arguably the most confident player on the Tiger defense. Butler received more opportunities in 2008 because opposing quarterbacks were reluctant to throw Chancellor's way. Maxwell, the most physical player in this rotation, tallied an efficient 54 stops in just over 300 snaps last season. Surprisingly he is still looking for his first career interception. Gilchrist, the most versatile player here, split time between corner and safety during the second half of spring, and is essentially the secondary's #4 defensive back behind DeAndre McDaniel, Chancellor and Butler, respectively. The former Rivals100 member also is perhaps under-valued as a return-threat, where he could work in an expanded role as a senior, following the departures of C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. Coty Sensabaugh consistently turns in sub 4.45/40 times on Clemson's track, and did manage work in 12 of 13 games last season. The Kingsport (TN) native and former Appalachian State commit should start as a senior. Because of the depth of this unit, staffers red-shirted Xavier Brewer in 2008. While Sensabaugh is this unit's swing-man or No. 5 corner, Brewer should still post over 60 snaps this fall.
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