Seasoned veteran

CLEMSON - Robert Smith played more snaps [814] than anyone else on the Clemson defense in 2013.

Now a senior, it's hard to believe that three years have come and gone since Smith arrived to Clemson as a high school quarterback, looking to find his way in the college game.

"I feel like I came a long way. Being a quarterback, coming to Clemson, didn't even know where I was going to play at first, now, being back there at safety, I just feel more comfortable than ever," Smith said. "I feel like that's going to lead me to making more plays and displaying what I truly can do."

Smith was Mr. Reliable in 2013. In 13 games last season, he had 77 tackles, five pass breakups, 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception and a sack.

He wants to contribute more in the way of pass breakups, interceptions, tackles for loss and sacks in 2014.

"I feel like that's one thing I've got to focus on," Smith said, "Making more plays and just add another element to my game."

When Clemson kicks off against Georgia in five months, Smith will be the most experienced member of the Tigers' secondary. He'll be joined by two other seniors this season [Martin Jenkins and Garry Peters], a couple of sophomores and juniors and a whole bunch of freshmen.

"I feel like a lot of guys look up to me this year," Smith said. "Even the young guys in the secondary, they come up to me and ask a lot of questions. When I'm on the field, they're looking to see if I'm running to the ball. They're looking to see if I'm communicating.

"It's big for me to go out and set an example each and every day."

He'll play a big part in anchoring the back-end of a defense that many have lofty expectations for in 2014.

"We always want to be the best and do whatever we can to be the best," Smith said. "We're not going to cut corners and we're not going to take any days off. We're just going to come out here focused on every day, just trying to be the best that we can be."

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