Player Profile: Brian Mance

While on the topic of great Defensive Backs, I would like to submit my offer for the next great Clemson DB. A 6'1 190 lb. Cornerback from Manning South Carolina by the name of Brian Mance has all the tools to be mentioned with the great Clemson defensive backs of the past like Kinard, Donnell Woolford, and Antuan Edwards.

Before writing this article, I would like to offer my congratulations to Terry Kinard for his induction to The Ring of Honor. With the bevy of talented players to play at Clemson, to be immortalized in such a manner is truly special.

While on the topic of great Defensive Backs, I would like to submit my offer for the next great Clemson DB. A 6'1 190 lb. Cornerback from Manning South Carolina by the name of Brian Mance has all the tools to be mentioned with the great Clemson defensive backs of the past like Kinard, Donnell Woolford, and Antuan Edwards.

Mance was one of the crown jewels of Tommy Bowden's 1st recruiting class here at Clemson. He was rated as the 7th Cornerback nationally, and was hotly pursued by almost every major program in the country. He gave his pledge to the Tigers several weeks before signing day after entertaining offers from Tennessee, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Georgia and South Carolina.

Brian Mance is easily one of, if not the best athlete in the Tiger secondary. He has that rare blend of size, speed, quickness and instincts that is so hard to find in a "true" cover corner. His first year of eligibility was wasted with some special teams duty and less than 20 snaps. As a sophomore he battled Darrell Crutchfield for a starting position, and while showing flashes of brilliance, he could not muster the consistency necessary to nail down the starting job.

When one watches Mance play, it is easy to see why he was so sought after at the prep level. He has one of the fastest back pedals I have seen in years, and some of the quickest hips around. This gives him the ability to watch Quarterbacks and Receivers at the same time. He also has tremendous straight-line speed to match keen instincts and sharp vision. One thing all corners must possess is a burst and recovery speed. This is what allows the great ones to gamble. Mance's burst is very smooth, but very explosive. He gambled a lot last year, but got better game by game, and will continue to do so this season. All of these things make him a very dangerous player to have in your secondary.

Another asset brought to the table is his ability to change any game at any time with his talents in the return game. All one has to do is watch the tapes of the FSU game and the Georgia Tech game. In the GT game, by the time he crossed midfield he was running away from their entire cover team, and although his return in the FSU game was negated by a penalty, no one was going to catch him from behind. These are 2 teams with speed all over the board, and Mance ran by them. Those are some wheels people. He took over the punt returning duties midway through last year, and I expect him to just as much, if not more dangerous in that aspect this year. In fact, on all his returns last year, (punt, KO, Int. etc) he averaged 32 yards per touch. That easily qualifies him as one of the most explosive players in the conference.

Brian Mance will need to be solid early on for a paper thin, and very inexperienced Tiger secondary. He will need to develop that "I dare you to throw on me" swagger that all the great Corners have. That sort of attitude will be contagious for our young players, and when exuding from an entire defense, good things will happen. In my eyes, he is one of the MOST pivotal players in determining our success this coming year. Young mistakes are no longer affordable, the bright side is I see a distinct parallel in between his and Alex Ardley's progression as CBs. Mance certainly has the tools, now it's time to step up.

If you have any questions, or anyone you would like to see me profile, drop me an email at jbford@clemson.edu.

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