1. Corico Hawkins, Jr.
2010: A starter in all 13 games last season, Hawkins finished third on the team in tackles (71) and second in tackles for loss (10). He also finished third with three sacks.
This spring: Hawkins held onto the starting job, which he's had over the last 14 games and continues to develop good instincts while adding bulk in the weight room.
Heading into the fall: The job is still his, but one of the freshmen could turn up the heat and threaten his starting spot. More 3-4 looks could possibly keep him in the starting lineup, regardless of the development by underclassmen.
2. Tony Steward, Fr.
2010: Steward was one of several Clemson signees selected to play in the US Army All-American game. Before suffering a knee injury during his senior season, he had 81 tackles and five sacks on the defensive side of the ball and 10 touchdowns on the offensive side.
This spring: Scout.com named Steward the No. 3 middle linebacker in the class of 2011 and his five-star ranking was dropped to four. On signing day at Pedro Menendez High School in Saint Augustine, Fla., the 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect selected Clemson over Florida State before a national television audience.
Heading into the fall: Whether Steward plays or redshirts or plays could depend on how comfortable he and the Clemson coaches are with his recovery. If he's ready, he could push Hawkins immediately for playing time.
3. Spencer Shuey, RS So.
2010: Shuey played 68 snaps in nine games last fall, registering nine tackles. The majority of his playing time came in goal line and short-yardage situations.
This spring: Shuey began cross-training at the bandit position, to help provide depth behind Andre Branch.
Heading into the fall: The additions of several highly touted freshmen could keep Shuey from seeing an increase in playing time this season. The cross-training at bandit could be an indication that his snaps at linebacker might be at a premium.
4. Colton Walls, Fr.
2010: Walls played a big part in helping Charlotte Latin to a 9-3 record during his senior season. As a junior, Walls had 115 tackles, 7 sacks, 2 blocked punts and an interception.
This spring: Scout.com rated Walls as a two-star and ranked him as the No. 84 middle linebacker in the class of 2011.
Heading into the fall: The son of former NFL tight end Wesley Walls, a redshirt is the likely destination this fall.
Preseason camp preview: LB (MIKE)
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