Summer Position Glimpse: MLB

Though Clemson lost both starting outside linebackers last season the Tigers return their middle linebacker, who could be an All-ACC performer in 2014.

Just one other player on the Clemson defense logged more snaps than Stephone Anthony did a season ago.

Middle Linebacker


Projected starter: Senior Stephone Anthony

Backups: Behind Anthony on the two-deep depth chart is fellow class of 2011 signee B.J. Goodson, who was sidelined for much of the 2013 campaign because of a concussion. In seven games last season, he played 33 snaps and was in on five tackles. Ben Boulware, who also served as a reserve middle linebacker last season, spent the spring working with Tony Steward at the weak-side linebacker spot.

What we learned in the spring: Whenever a draft eligible player returns to school for his final season, there's concern about the guy's focus. There's no need to worry about Anthony's intentions. He told reporters that he's back for a run at the ultimate goal, a national title. Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Brent Venables backed Anthony's statements up, saying that he and Vic Beasley are both back for the right reasons.

Long-term future: The way things stand right now, Goodson seems to be in line for the starting middle linebacker job in 2015. Boulware could compete for the job, too. At this time next year, there will be plenty of younger options for the middle. Chris Register, the lone early enrollee on the defensive side of the ball, will have over a full year of experience under his belt. Fellow 2014 signees Korie Rogers and Kendall Joseph will also be in the mix.

Because Clemson went so linebacker heavy with its 2014 class, the position isn't a priority for 2015. Jalen Williams, a greyshirt pick-up in 2014, will be in school no later than January of 2015, and he could work in the middle at Clemson. Venables remains involved with several 2015 middle linebackers, including Jahvoni Simmons, Roquan Smith and Tyler Cooksey.

Moving forward: Anthony is well on his way to doing exactly what so many Clemson fans hoped he would do when he signed back in 2011: Help make the Tiger linebacking corps a strong one, like it once was. With Goodson and Boulware scheduled to be back in 2015, the position will have plenty of experience. Those two, along with the 2014 signees, leave the position with a bright outlook.

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