CUTigers Spring Blitz: MLBs

As first-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables prepares for spring practice, he'll have three experienced middle linebackers to coach.

Roster
1-Corico Hawkins - Senior
2-Stephone Anthony - Sophomore
3-Spencer Shuey - RS Junior

2011 Stats (Returning)
Hawkins - 76 tackles, 5 tackles for loss; 697 snaps
Anthony - 29 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks; 292 snaps
Shuey - 8 tackles; 48 snaps

Unit Ranking: C+
Hawkins, the most experienced of the middle linebackers, has played in 39 games during his three-year career, 25 of which he started. A season ago he finished fourth on the team in tackles and was one of nine Clemson defenders to play at least 650 snaps.

A five-star prospect when he enrolled at Clemson last summer, Anthony started three of the 13 games he played in 2011. He was the starting middle linebacker for the Tigers' nickel package. Anthony has the build and athleticism to also play the strong-side linebacker position, too.


Stephone Anthony started three of the 13 games he played in 2011.
A majority of Shuey's snaps over the last two seasons have been in short-yardage and goal line situations.

The starter

As is the case with just about every other position on the defensive side of the ball, there's question as to who will be the starter at middle linebacker. Hawkins has the most experience of any linebacker on the Tigers' roster, but Anthony is the most talented in the group.

For now, it appears that the battle will be between Anthony and Hawkins. Shuey's best suited for short-yardage and goal line situations, as he's done n the past.

Assuming Anthony is healthy after battling through a mid-foot sprain last season, this could be his time to shine.

Potential changes?

Because there has been a change in regime at defensive coordinator, it's also worth wondering if any changes will be made.

It's possible to think that Anthony could shift to the strong-side and Tony Steward, when healthy, could move from the weak-side to the middle. At this point, any changes would be speculation.

Spring predictions

-Hawkins exits the spring atop the depth chart

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