Anthony respects his elders

CLEMSON - Stephone Anthony has one coach that's put plenty of players in the NFL and another that played in the league for seven seasons.

This fall, former Clemson linebacker Keith Adams will assist defensive coordinator Brent Venables as a student-coach.

Adams, who's back in Clemson to complete his degree in parks, recreation and tourism, was a two-time All-American for the Tigers. Named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 1999, he set the school's single-season record for tackles [186] and sacks [16] that season.

He spent seven years in the NFL with Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami and Cleveland after his decorated college career.

"He's a great asset to the team. He's going to be important for us. He's going to be big for us, because our linebacker group really takes to him," Anthony said. "They really respect that man, because of who he is and what he has done.

"I love him. He stays on us. He's going to make sure we're working down after down, play after play. He isn't going to let us rest."

Through the 80's and into the 90's, the linebacker position had quite a tradition at Clemson. Players like Jeff Davis, Levon Kirkland, Ed McDaniel, Wayne Simmons and Adams set the standard.

Since Adams was drafted in 2001, Clemson hasn't had many high-caliber linebackers.

The signings of Anthony, Tony Steward, Lateek Townsend and B.J. Goodson in 2011 gave Clemson fans plenty of reason to believe the Tigers were making a serious upgrade in talent at the position.

Adams was a two-time All-American at Clemson before going on to the NFL.
Anthony enters the 2012 season as the Tigers' starter at middle linebacker. Venables thinks the sky is the limit for his pupil.

"Stephone can be as good as Stephone wants to be," Venables said. "He's got great desire to be a great player, and the humility that it takes to get there. It's a process. It just doesn't happen overnight.

"He's willing to invest in the process on a daily basis. I've seen great progress from him. I expect him to get better every day."

Last season, Anthony recorded 32 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks and a pass breakup in 292 snaps over 13 games [three starts].

Venables thinks there is plenty of room for improvement.

"Just name it," he said, before listing off the areas Anthony needs to improve.

"Understanding technique, sureness, confidence, his ability to communicate, understanding, not only his own position, but everyone else around him as well [and] just being in a position with more consistency."

It certainly doesn't hurt that a second set of trusted eyes will be on the former five-star recruit, to help guide him through the 2012 campaign. Top Stories