Five redshirt freshmen to watch in '12

Spring practice may be less than two months away, but it's never too early to look at five names that we expect to hear much more from when it gets started.

CB Cortez Davis
Had they needed him to play in 2011, Davis could have avoided a redshirt season during his first-year on campus.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound cornerback had 40 tackles, two interceptions, and eight pass breakups and 58 catches for 878 yards and 11 scores as a senior at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Davis is the big, tall, physical kind of cornerback that defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison likes to run with on game days. With the departure of Coty Sensabaugh, there's at least one spot in the cornerback rotation open.

LB B.J. Goodson
Though he may have been rated lower than fellow 2011 linebacker signees Stephone Anthony, Tony Steward and Lateek Townsend, Goodson was a nice addition for the Clemson defense.

Former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was of the belief that Goodson would have had the stars an high-ranking if he went to a bigger high school. Even in this day and age, Goodson went nearly unnoticed at Lamar High School.

As a senior, he racked up 156 tackles, including a 20-tackle, eight-sack performance in a playoff game.

Like Townsend did in 2011, Goodson's early impact could be felt the most on special teams.

OT Joe Gore
Now playing the position we thought would be his best fit, Gore has an opportunity to step in for early playing time with the graduations of Phillip Price and Landon Walker.

Gore, who enrolled at Clemson last January, is coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for through the start of the season. He was able to work on scout team midway through 2011 and turned some heads wit his play at tackle.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, Gore has the frame to add the weight he'll need to play offensive tackle.

TE Eric MacLain
Though we maintain that MacLain's future might be brighter at offensive tackle, it's not to suggest he won't make a fine tight end at Clemson.

Obviously, he blocks extremely well. The suggestion that he would make a better tackle would never have been made if that wasn't the case. MacLain has a nice set of hands, so he catches the ball well, too.

Dwayne Allen's early entry to the NFL and Chad Diehl's graduation leave plenty of room for snaps at the 3-back position. Brandon Ford is likely at the top of the list for playing time with MacLain and incoming freshman Jay Jay McCullough as candidates, too. Darrel Smith and Sam Cooper are also in the mix.

OL Ryan Norton
The Mauldin High School three-star barely missed out on playing time during his first-year on campus.

He could work as the backup at center to Dalton Freeman, but also has a chance to get snaps at guard with the graduations of Antoine McClain, David Smith and Mason Cloy.

Regardless of where he fits in, Norton is likely on track to record at least 100-150 snaps, if not more. Top Stories