Addressing the secondary concerns
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Addressing the secondary concerns

The goal for Brent Venables after his first season at Clemson? Acquire some blue chip talent at defensive back.

Venables struck gold last week when Clemson hauled in one of the top defensive backs classes in the country.

The Tigers' coaches signed eight players who will play defensive back when they arrive to town later this year. Three were rated by Scout.com as four-star prospects. Three were three stars and two were two stars.

Mackensie Alexander, the No. 7 cornerback in the country, was one of those four-star additions.

During Clemson's signing day webcast, Venables said there's more to Alexander than just talent.

"Very, very hard on himself -- we've been down there a number of times in the recruiting process and it's not the football season, my man would have his own practice out there at 7, 8 o'clock at night," Venable said. "He's constantly at 9 or 10 o'clock at night going for a jog.

"He's got a lot on his mind, a lot on his heart. A great student in the classroom as well, but he wants to go to a place where he can change his life and his family's life.

"Fortunately, for us, he feels like Clemson gives him the best place to do that."

Alexander finished his career at Immokalee High School [Fla.] with 139 tackles and 10 interceptions. He's also clocked a 10.8 in the 100-meter dash and has been ranked among the top 15 wrestlers for his weight class in the state of Florida.

On the gridiron, Venables said Alexander is "very instinctive, very explosive."

"He's got a great, great feel to the game. He's a football junkie," Venables said.

Alexander will bring that attitude with him to Clemson in July when he enrolls in school.

"Mackensie is a guy -- he recognizes that it's a game-changing kind of decision for him and his family. Incredibly intelligent, you would be absolutely amazed," Venables said. "The Clemson family will really learn to love this young guy and what he stands for, the fight that he has -- a great spirit about him, incredibly, incredibly competitive, very tough."