The search continues

A closer look at the one confirmed candidate and other possible candidates to take over the defensive coordinator job at Clemson.

Venables, the current co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, is the only known candidate to formally interview with head coach Dabo Swinney through the early stages of this process. Venables was on campus Saturday and Sunday and even spoke with two Clemson commitments while he was here.

Venables left Clemson without a formal offer Sunday night and has been in Oklahoma ever since. Speculative reports in Oklahoma have indicated "no decision" has been made by Venables in regards to Clemson at this juncture, but Venables himself may be waiting on Dabo Swinney to interview other candidates, while also deciding whether or not he wants to uproot his family after 13 years in Norman.

Also, Kansas State, Venables' alma mater now has an opening at defensive coordinator as well. Speculation has already started to heat up that could be an attractive job for Venables as a coach-in-waiting scenario under Bill Snyder.

While Sunday it appeared Venables was on track to be named Clemson's next DC, sources quickly confirmed to CUTigers Swinney would talk to his top three or four candidates before ultimately deciding what he wanted to do.

However, Venables, who actually interviewed for the head coaching job at Clemson in 2008, is the only known candidate Swinney has interviewed up to this point, and it seems safe to say his interest in Venables is high.

It should also be noted Venables could be more willing to leave Norman after Bob Stoops brought his brother back to OU to become the co-coordinator, along with Venables, just last month.

Also, sources told CUTigers earlier this week Swinney's time with Venables went "very well."

Venables' defenses the last two years have ranked in the middle of the pack, nationally. But he's also had to defend the best offenses in the country on a weekly basis playing in the pass-happy Big 12 and he's coached in four BCS Championship Games, winning one in 2000 against Florida State.

The one-time Miami head coach and defensive coordinator has been mentioned for several defensive coordinator openings around the country since the start of the new year, including Clemson's. He also reportedly already turned down Maryland.

At least one reporter in Oklahoma has posted on Twitter that Dabo Swinney has indicated the two would "talk" in coming days.

Sources maintain to CUTigers Shannon is on Dabo Swinney's short list of three to four candidates he's considering for the position, however a timetable for a potential interview is not currently known.

Keep in mind, should Shannon coach in 2012, he'll stand to lose $1.5 million in a buyout payment from Miami. Still, he has recruiting ties in Florida, especially in the talent rich Dade and Broward counties, and he's also familiar with the ACC, having coached the 'Canes from 2007-10.

As Miami's defensive coordinator from 2001-06, Shannon led the 'Canes to a top 10 ranking in total defense in five of six seasons.

While it's true he literally had the top talent in the country for most of those seasons, he's widely respected in coaching circles for his defensive coaching ability and would be a solid hire for any school to run its defense.

While not as known as Shannon or Venables, Clark's track record is impressive. In his first season at South Alabama, the Jaguars surrendered just 41 total points and 234 yards per game to finish the year 7-0. While the competition was far from elite, he's been just as impressive in since.

Clark came to South Alabama after nine years as head coach of the two-time Alabama Class 6A champion Lions. His last two teams won 30 straight games, while the 2007 squad was ranked No. 2 in the nation in the USA Today's national high school poll.

Dabo took a perceived "chance" on Chad Morris last year in hiring an offensive coordinator. Would he do it on defense?

CUTigers has been unable to confirm an interview between Swinney and Clark has taken place, although there's been plenty of internet speculation suggesting otherwise.

At this point, he has to be considered a name to watch.

Also, rumors of Dabo Swinney flying to Mobile, Ala. to talk with Clark earlier this week were unfounded as Swinney was actually in Buffalo, NY having his in-home visit with QB commitment Chad Kelly.

The former head coach a South Florida is now making his mark in the NFL coaching the San Francisco 49ers linebackers, but would he be interested in coming to Clemson?

Or would Clemson be interested in him? WYFF 4 Sports Anchor Brad Fralick listed Leavitt as a possible candidate for the defensive coordinator position at Clemson earlier this week, but CUTigers has not been able to confirm that at this juncture.

Leavitt's split from South Florida was also messy, which could limit the number of college jobs he would be up for.

Like Clark, CUTigers has been unable to confirm Leavitt is an actual candidate for the defensive coordinator position. Top Stories