Signs of versatility

CLEMSON - The Clemson coaching staff was enamored with the versatility Travis Blanks brought to the table as a high school prospect.

That, along with a number of other qualities, made him such a highly sought after prospect in the 2012 cycle.

Six games into Clemson career, Blanks has shown that his versatility translates well to the college level.

The freshman is tied for third among Tiger defenders with 32 tackles. He also has two quarterback pressures, a tackle for loss and one pass breakup.

Blanks, who played the first five games [two starts] at the hybrid nickel position, started at free safety two weeks ago against Georgia Tech.

"As far as playing positions, it's all the same to me," he said. "Just getting on the field -- at every position you have to tackle, fight off blocks and cover guys, at the nickel and at the safety position. So it's really no difference to me."

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables informed Blanks of the move shortly after the conclusion of the Boston College game.

At the West End Zone on Monday, Blanks wouldn't share any details as to what his role will be during this weekend's showdown with Virginia Tech.

"I'm still week-by-week, different personnel groups. I'm still getting reps at safety and my nickel position. I'm getting reps at both," he said. "So, if the team needs me at safety in a certain situation or personnel grouping I can go to safety. I'm still working my nickel, so I can play that, as well."

Blanks didn't offer a glowing review when asked to evaluate his collegiate performance at safety.

"I don't think I did too well. I got all my reads well, but that was my first game playing back at safety, so it was a little change up for me, just getting back into the routine playing," he said. "But I felt good. There [are] a few things that I have to tune up, fine tune, as far as getting back at safety. But I felt great."

Both starting safety jobs will be wide open after this season with the departures of Xavier Brewer, Rashard Hall and Jonathan Meeks. And the Clemson coaches have already mentioned Blanks as a prime candidate to start at safety next season.

"That's not the mentality that I have, although it's the reality. There [are] always young guys that [are] coming in trying to get the spot," Blanks said.

When the time comes, he'll put up one heck of a fight to wrap up one of those starting jobs. In fact, it could happen sooner, rather than later.

"A lot of times, people tell me, like the coaches, a lot of times coach [Venables] tells me I'm hard on myself," Blanks said. "I have a high expectancy out of myself and I expect to do things at a high level." Top Stories