Preseason camp preview: Safety

With preseason practice starting on Friday, CUTigers.com takes a look at the safety positions.

1. Rashard Hall, RS Jr.
2010: Hall recorded 65 tackles and two interceptions, including one return for a touchdown (Boston College). He also had three pass breakups. The Academic All-ACC performer received the Hustle Award (defense) from Clemson coaches at the postseason awards banquet.

This spring: Simply put, it was business as usual. Hall continued to hold down his spot as the starter at free safety. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele joked that Hall had an office somewhere in the West End Zone because of all the time he puts in studying film.

Heading into the fall: With a relatively inexperienced set of cornerbacks playing in front of him, Hall will take on a big-time leadership role and depended on more than ever for big plays in the secondary.



2. Carlton Lewis, RS Jr.
2010: Lewis worked his way into the safety rotation before breaking his jaw in practice in the week leading up to the Boston College game. In nine games (115 snaps), he recorded five tackles.

This spring: A high school teammate of Hall, Lewis finished the spring second on the depth chart at the free safety spot.

Heading into the fall: Look for Lewis to see an increase in snaps when the season comes to a close. How productive he can be remains to be seen but he does have good athleticism.



SS

1. Jonathan Meeks, Jr.
2010: Last season was a breakout campaign for Meeks, who finished with 28 tackles and an interception. He played 256 snaps in 13 games and also made his first career start.

This spring: The hard hitting Meeks further solidified his role as the starting strong safety.

Heading into the fall: Even though DeAndre McDaniel has moved on, don't expect there to be much, if any drop off now that Meeks is scheduled to take over at strong safety. His instincts are solid and he adds a nice physical presense to a position that needs it.



2. Kantrell Brown, RS Sr.
2010: Brown had six tackles in 12 games. The majority of his role was on special teams. He spent half of 2009 on the bench after suffering a neck injury against Wake Forest.

This spring: The former walk-on exited the spring as the second team strong safety behind Meeks.

Heading into the fall: Like 2010, his impact will mostly be on special teams, but he could see spot duty relieving Meeks and figures to be on the field more than ever before.



3. Desmond Brown, RS Fr.
2010: Brown took a redshirt during his first season at Clemson, concentrating on building bulk and learning Kevin Steele's defense.

This spring: He finished the spring as the third-team strong safety.

Heading into the fall: Brown could potentially work his way up to the second-team strong safety spot during preseason camp if all goes well. Early on, the majority of his role will be on special teams.



4. Robert Smith, Fr.
2010: Smith finished his productive high school career with 11,318 total yards (passing and rushing) and 124 touchdowns.

This spring: As a senior at Woodland High School in St. George, Smith was nationally ranked by Scout.com as the No. 72 safety in the class of 2011.

Heading into the fall: Steele recently lauded Smith for his football IQ. With several upperclassmen ahead of Smith on the depth chart, he could be up for a redshirt this fall. However, his ability to process information quickly could dictate otherwise.


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