Five impact true freshmen in 2012

Most of the projected impact true freshmen have already made their way to Clemson's campus, but the others will sign letters of intent on Wednesday morning.

OT Isaiah Battle
We felt Battle had potential to make an early impact at Clemson after seeing him at the Dabo Swinney Football Camp in the summer of 2010. But he had to spend last fall at Fork Union Military Academy to improve his academic standing.

Now that Battle is a year older and Clemson has even more questions at tackle, he's on track to be a serious contender for playing time at left tackle this fall.

Battle's arrival to Tigertown in January can do nothing but improve his chances of taking over the left tackle spot.

CB Travis Blanks
Blanks was ranked by as the No. 13 safety in the class of 2012 and rated as a four-star prospect. He picked Clemson over offers from Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and many more. In Tigertown, Blanks will play cornerback.

Coty Sensabaugh, who's the only cornerback from the Clemson Orange Bowl squad that will not return in 2012, was easily the top performer in the Tigers' youthful secondary last year.

Not only could Blanks crack the two-deep at cornerback, but he could also work into the mix at free safety behind Rashard Hall.

RB Zac Brooks
Chad Morris felt so good about the commitment of Brooks that he decided to back off other highly-regarded running backs like Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. For Morris, Brooks was the guy he wanted to grow into the power back.

Although Morris will welcome Andre Ellington and three other experienced running backs, Brooks brings a unique skill set to the table. Brooks is a strong runner and a natural pass catcher. rated Brooks as the No. 43 wide receiver in the class of 2012.

DE Shaquille Lawson
By far the most underrated member of Clemson's 2012 signing class. ranks Lawson as the No. 116 defensive end in the country and rates him as a three-star prospect.

Lawson projects to the college level as a weak-side defensive end. At Clemson, the only weak-side defensive ends are Corey Crawford and Victor Beasley.

Crawford has the size and versatility to also play the strong-side position, so it's possible that he works behind Malliciah Goodman, too. That, among other factors, might allow for Lawson to avoid a redshirt this fall.

DT Carlos Watkins
If there was an absolute must-get for Clemson in the 2012 signing haul, it was Watkins. The four-star defensive tackle is among the most impressive athletes in the Tigers' class.

Of the returning defensive tackles, only Tyler Shatley and DeShawn Williams played over 100 snaps in 2011, so there's plenty of room for Watkins to step in and fill a role.

Watkins isn't the only 2012 signee who could step into early playing time this fall. Early enrollee Kevin Dodd, who spent last fall in prep school, has a chance to play. Top Stories