Next in line

CLEMSON - Stephone Anthony hadn't been to Blacksburg, Va. since his late January official visit.

The then five-star prospect, who saw Virginia Tech the weekend of Jan. 21-23, signed with Clemson just weeks later. Rated as the No. 2 outside linebacker by Scout.com in the class of 2011, Anthony inked with Clemson on national signing day over Virginia Tech, Florida, North Carolina and N.C. State.

Back in Blacksburg on Saturday, he recorded five tackles and two tackles for loss in 29 snaps during Clemson's 23-3 win over Virginia Tech.

"It meant a lot to me, for me to go up there and just have a good game and have fun," Anthony said. "That environment was good."

He recalled on Tuesday what made Virginia Tech such an appealing choice as a nationally sought after prospect.

"It's a great school, a great football team. That's one of the things I liked very well," Anthony said. "Obviously, I decided to come here."

At Clemson, he felt most comfortable.

"My surroundings, the people around me, the loving and caring atmosphere, so I decided come to Clemson," Anthony said.

Five games in as the Tigers' backup middle linebacker, he continues to grasp the responsibilities a MIKE 'backer takes on under defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

"I'm trying to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can. Coach Steele throws it at me. I've got to grasp it and keep on moving," Anthony said.

In his Clemson debut, the 2011 season opener against Troy, he had four tackles and a sack in 22 snaps. In the three games between the Troy and Virginia Tech games, Anthony logged 17 snaps and three tackles.

He has 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack in 68 snaps this season.

"Coming from experience, as games go on, you play a little more," Anthony said. "You finally get that experience and settle down. I felt like I settled down, got everything called right. I felt like I did a good job."

That experience, as minimal as it may be, it sure went a long way.

"I felt like I was relaxed," he said, referring to the Virginia Tech game. "I was comfortable and I didn't feel any pressure. I just took everything out and played ball."

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