Ready for impact

With the start of preseason camp today, we take a look at five redshirt freshmen who could make an impact on Clemson's 2012 season.

Several members of Clemson's 2011 signing class made a big-time first impression as true freshmen last fall.

While Sammy Watkins and Stephone Anthony were becoming household names with the Tigers' faithful, there were several other talented freshmen biding their time. For some of those 2011 signees, that time is now.

Here's our look at five impact redshirt freshmen:

Ryan Norton

The decision to redshirt Norton in 2011 came down to the wire. Debate on what exactly to do with Norton lasted through preseason camp and on into the early portion of the season.

Since he wasn't needed to round out the depth chart, Clemson's coaches opted to save the year. Had there been an early injury to one of the interior linemen, Norton may have avoided a redshirt.

This fall, he'll compete for the No. 2 spot behind Dalton Freeman at center. Although he's unlikely to see many meaningful snaps at center, Norton could end up working into the rotation at guard.

The battle between Norton and Jay Guillermo will be one of several position battles to keep an eye on this month.

Cortez Davis

Had they needed him, Davis could have seen playing time last season. Because of the depth at cornerback, there was no need to burn his first year of eligibility.

With the departure of Coty Sensabaugh, Davis will work his way into the rotation behind the older, more experienced cornerbacks still on the roster. He exited spring practice as the backup to Bashaud Breeland.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder has the size and build that defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison prefers to recruit.

Stanton Seckinger/Eric MacLain

MacLain will contend for the No. 3 tight end spot this fall.
Seckinger turned heads in the spring after he was moved from wide receiver to tight end. Although he needs to gain weight, Seckinger is comparable to where Brandon Ford was when he made the switch from receiver to tight end.

MacLain, a four-star prospect coming out of high school, arrived to campus expecting to play immediately. He took a redshirt instead.

The redshirt freshmen will compete for the No. 3 tight end job. If he qualifies, Jay Jay McCullough could also be in the mix for that job.

Joe Gore

Originally signed as a defensive end, Gore was moved over to the offensive side of the ball while he was recovering from a knee injury. Now, Gore is competing with Gifford Timothy for the first-team right tackle job.

Timothy exited the spring as the No. 1 right tackle on the depth chart and he is expected to begin the season as the starter. But Gore will push the redshirt sophomore when for that spot.

The Clemson coaches are very high on Gore, because of his athleticism.

Shaq Anthony

During spring practice, Brandon Thomas emerged as a bright spot on the offensive line. The second oldest offensive lineman on the roster, Thomas took a commanding lead ahead of Anthony and Isaiah Battle at left guard.

If Anthony and/or Battle show they're ready to hold down the fort at left tackle, Thomas could potentially move back inside to left guard.

Because the Clemson coaches don't want to put too much on Battle, Anthony could be the most likely choice as the No. 2 at left tackle. Top Stories