Clemson Football: Tigers’ young talent will fill holes in the secondary

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 07: Safety Van Smith
CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 07: Safety Van Smith /

Losing key defensive backs over the offseason seems like a natural occurrence for the Clemson football program. Once again the Tigers are forced to retool their secondary, luckily they have talented youngsters hungry for playing time.

Clemson’s season hasn’t even been over for a month yet and they have already lost three experienced defensive backs. Safety, Van Smith decided to forego his remaining eligibility and enter the NFL draft and corners, Ryan Carter and Marcus Edmund expired their eligibility.

Smith and Carter saw extensive playing time over the past two seasons, combining for a total of 207 tackles and seven interceptions during that span of time.

Edmund was hampered by injuries for most of 2017, receiving very little playing time, however, he was a reliable member of Clemson’s secondary when healthy. In 2016, he had a game winning interception against NC State and a game saving tackle against Louisville.


Despite losing three influential members of their defense, Clemson will be just fine next season.

Dabo Swinney and his staff have done a phenomenal job on the recruiting trail, in case of situations like this.

At corner, the Tigers return, Trayvon Mullen (Jr), Mark Fields (Sr), AJ Terrell (So) and LeAnthony Williams Jr. (RFr). Mullen led Clemson in interceptions this season with three. Terrell earned an impressive amount of snaps for a true freshman, never looking out of place.

Fields was held back by a toe injury for a good chunk of the season. With his length and confidence, he figures to be a major part of Clemson’s secondary as a senior.

At safety, the Tigers return, Tanner Muse, Isaiah Simmons, K’Von Wallace and Denzel Johnson. Muse, Simmons and Wallace all earned valuable playing time in 2017.

It’s important to note that Wallace has the versatility to play anywhere in Clemson’s secondary.

Position battles

Given Clemson’s depth in the secondary, it’ll be interesting to watch these position battles play out.

As of right now, I expect Mullen to lockdown the boundary corner position, leaving Fields, Terrell and potentially Wallace to battle over the starting job at field corner.

Muse and Simmons will most likely occupy both safety positions, unless Wallace throws his hat in the ring.

Next: Deon Cain a potential steal in the 2018 NFL Draft

Incoming freshman, Kyler McMichael has the athletiscim and talent to compete anywhere in the secondary as well.