Back where Venables intended

CLEMSON - When T.J. Green signed with Clemson, publicly, he was listed as an athlete/kick returner. Internally, there was some hashing out to be done.

Chad Morris wasn't the only coordinator who wanted Green on his side of the ball, so did Brent Venables. That's why the former UAB pledge was introduced by Dabo Swinney on the first Wednesday of that February as an athlete/kick returner.

"We offered him as a safety, then fall camp came and he was at receiver," Venables said. "We put our name on him."

He repeated, adamantly, "We put our name on him."

Diplomacy aside, Venables finally has Green where he wants him: playing free safety. As a freshman at wide receiver, Green caught two passes during his 147 snaps on offense.

Now, with a week left in the spring of 2014, Green has all but locked up the No. 2 free safety job. Venables listed Green as one of the four safeties that the Clemson defense "can win with."

Venables added, "He's big. He's long. He's strong. He can tackle. He's got good intelligence. He's got good speed."

The new guy

Clemson signed full servings at linebacker and wide receiver this past February. The only difference was, by the time pen hit paper, most of the wide receivers were already on campus.

Of the four who signed up to join Jeff Scott in the wide receiver meeting room, Trevion Thompson was the only one not to enroll early.

Chris Register was the only linebacker signee who showed up for class in January.

"He's worked hard. Like a lot of young guys, I'm sure it's tough being away from home for the first time," Venables said. "Chris is doing just fine. He's working, competing [and] learning, everything is brand new to him. I know what it's like to be the new guy. It's not easy. He's chipping away every day."

Register returned an interception for a touchdown during practice on Friday.

"It was a nice play," Venables said. "He needed that.

"But he's doing fine."

One last hurrah

When Tavaris Barnes backed off his pledge to Florida State, it was considered to be a serious coup for Clemson. A three-star prospect coming out of First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla., Barnes has logged 597 snaps over three seasons. He has 45 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

The redshirt senior defensive end could be poised for his best season at Clemson.

"He's been really good, really pleased with. He was just a guy before who occasionally showed some explosiveness and real natural strength," Venables said. "He's had an effective spring ball, up until this point where he's been disruptive [and] making plays consistently, playing with much better pad level.

"He's shown disruptiveness, has been physical. His technique has been a lot more consistent, his effort has been a lot more consistent. It's been real pleasing to see his attitude. He's got better body language to go along with the success. To me, it's the changed attitude and changed sense of purpose." Top Stories