Big challenge awaits Sensabaugh

DAVIE, Fla. - The addition of Coty Sensabaugh to Clemson's 2008 signing class was met with little fanfare.

Less than 24 hours before National Signing Day that year, the Tigers brought him on with their class, which included four-star prospects Willy Korn, Marcus Gilchrist, Landon Walker, Kourtnei Brown, Jarvis Jenkins and DeAndre McDaniel.

For the first couple of years in his career, Sensabaugh played sparingly with several future pro cornerbacks ahead of him on the depth chart.

"It was definitely frustrating, but it definitely helped me. It kept me grounded. It kept me focused," he said before Friday's Orange Bowl practice at Nova Southeastern University.

"At the same time, I knew I could compete at that level. I tried to work hard every day, every summer, every year. Just when my opportunity came, take advantage of it. That's what I've been trying to do this year."

Sensabaugh has certainly taken full advantage of his opportunity in 2011.

The redshirt senior leads all Clemson defenders with 904 snaps logged and is one of two players to start every game on that side of the ball. He's recorded 35 tackles, a team-high 11 pass breakups and an interception.

Sensabaugh gives a lot of the credit to defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison, who's been at Clemson for the last three seasons.

"Coach Cheese is the best defensive backs coach in America, I feel. He just stayed on me and kept me focused," Sensabaugh said.

The Clemson secondary will have its hands full with a pair of 1,000-yard receivers from West Virginia. Steadman Bailey leads the Mountaineers with 11 touchdown catches while Tavon Austin is first with 89 total receptions.

"It's going to be extremely tough, because you've got to play them honest," Sensabaugh said. "They have other weapons. I know those two are the big names, but watching all the other receivers, they're great, too. It's going to be a challenge for us. We've got to be on our game."

He added, "It'll be a good challenge. It will be fun."


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