CUTigers Spring Blitz: DTs

There are plenty of questions ahead in 2012 for the Clemson defensive line, particularly inside at both tackle positions.

1-DeShawn Williams - Sophomore
2. Tavaris Barnes - RS Sophomore
3. Grady Jarrett - Sophomore
4. Josh Watson - RS Sophomore
5. Tra Thomas - RS Sophomore
6. Jerome Maybank - RS Freshman

2011 Stats (Returning)
Williams - 20 tackles, 2 tackles for loss; 138 snaps
Barnes - 7 tackles; 73 snaps
Jarrett - 2 tackles; 61 snaps
Watson - 0 tackles; 21 snaps
Thomas - 1 tackle; 8 snaps

Unit Ranking: D+
Gone from the defensive tackle position are the top three players from last season's team. Brandon Thompson and Rennie Moore are currently in Indianapolis working out at the NFL Combine. Tyler Shatley has been moved to the other side of the ball to play guard.

Tavaris Barnes has to step up his play for the Tigers this spring. (Roy Philpott)
None of the six defensive tackles going through spring practice have more than one year of playing experience at the college level. Five of the six made their collegiate debuts in 2011. The sixth, Maybank, has yet to log a snap.

Williams, the most experienced of the defensive tackles, played almost as many snaps [138] as the other four on the roster [163].

The seasoned veteran

Just as we predicted last summer, Williams avoided a redshirt in 2011. Not only did he play, but he actually logged several meaningful snaps. He played in every game last season, one of which he started.

We suspect Williams will enter and exit spring workouts as one of the two starters at the position.

Vying for the other spot

Competing for the other starting defensive tackle position will be Jarrett and Barnes. Barnes, who was recruited to Clemson as a defensive end, was moved inside shortly after his arrival.

Heading into the fall, the starter alongside Williams will likely be Jarrett or Barnes.

The rest

The next six months, starting in March, could be a put up or shut up period for Thomas and Watson. Though each spent his first season on campus with a redshirt, neither made much of a push for playing time last fall when the two true freshman and Barnes locked up the reserve spots.

Nipping at their heels is Maybank, who spent last fall adjusting to the college game. Also in the mix is Kevin Dodd, who we mentioned with the defensive ends earlier this week.

Spring predictions

-Barnes takes ownership
-Watson moves into contention on the two-deep depth chart Top Stories