Recruits that are Strong on the Tigers (Defense)

We now take a look at the Tigers' recruiting needs on defense. Big names are everywhere, but how many of them will Tommy Bowden be able to grab this year? Francouer, Bennett, and Rice are just some of the guys that head up our list of student-athletes that are high on the Tigers' list.

P Name HT WT 40 Location Favorites
LB Tony Taylor 6-2 205 n/a Watkinsville, GA UGA, GA TECH, CLEM, AUB
LB Brandon Jamison* 6-2 220 4.40 JUCO(Hopkins) COMMIT
LB Kelvin Morris* 6-3 225 4.65 Timmonsville, SC COMMIT
LB Craig Lloyd 6-1 220 4.5 Daytona Beach, FL CLEM, FLA, UNC, OKLA
LB Anthony Waters* 6-3 205 4.5 Lake View HS COMMIT
DT Irvin Brisker* 6-7 240 4.94 Conyers, GA COMMIT
DT Terron Pullen 6-3 250 n/a Wrightsville, GA ALA, CLEM, AUB, UGA, GA TECH
DT Randy Jackson* 6-4 275 4.9 JUCO(GA Military) COMMIT
DT Mickey Rice 6-2 290 5.0 Union, SC CLEM, SCAR, UGA, AUB, TENN
DT Antonio Shippy 6-1 315 5.1 Union, SC CLEM, SCAR, UGA
DE Cory Groover* 6-3 235 4.70 Hannah-Pamplico HS COMMIT
DE Brandon Cannon 6-2 235 n/a Stone Mountain, GA AUB, CLEM, GA TECH, MARY
DE Moe Thompson 6-3 250 n/a Stratford HS UNC, CLEM, SCAR
S Fred Bennett 6-2 180 4.45 Manning HS CLEM, GA TECH, SCAR, MARY
S Brian Crum 6-3 208 n/a Woodvine, GA CLEM, AUB, SCAR, FLA, TENN
S Jeff Francouer 6-3 185 4.45 Atlanta, GA CLEM, GA TECH, MISS, ND
DB C.J. Woodard* 6-0 170 4.50 Henderson, NC COMMIT
DB Michael Hinton 6-3 190 4.45 Graham, NC CLEM, OHIO, ECU, NCST

Initially there are a couple of names should grab you from this list who have not given their verbal commitment to Clemson. Mickey Rice, Jeff Francouer, and Frederick Bennett are three guys who I believe really need to sign in order to get this class where it needs to be.

The best thing about Jeff Francouer is that he is a legitimate playmaker. He has come up big so many times for AAAAA Parkview High School in Atlanta, GA. Big punt returns, huge interceptions, clutch touchdown receptions, you name it, he's done it- and he's done it in the biggest games.

Unfortunately with Francouer, he has started putting more emphasis on the Major League Baseball draft. Everyone knows that he wants to go to a school with top baseball and football programs, but if he becomes a 1st round pick next spring, the money just might be enough to lure him out of the college ranks. The good thing is that if decides to go to school, the Tigers appear to be a very strong candidate to win his services.

Mickey Rice, who could be one of the best defensive tackles in the southeast, if not the country, would be a great addition to the defensive line. Rice has almost 40 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, an interception, and a blocked punt return for a touchdown so far this season. With former teammates Roscoe Crosby and Kyle Browning coming to Clemson this year, he'll have plenty of reasons to commit to the Tigers. South Carolina and Auburn appear to be the most serious competition right now.

Frederick Bennett is another versatile defensive back. He is a standout safety that has all the skills to come in and contribute immediately. He's got great speed (4.5) and a frame that could put on even more weight in college. He will most likely be deciding between Clemson, Georgia Tech, and South Carolina.

Keep in mind that several of these players could be shifted to different positions. Cory Groover could be on the defensive line, Bennett could be moved to an outside linebacker. Michael Hinton could be a safety if he added a few pounds. Also, standout players who are known for their offense, guys like Moe Thompson, Troy Williamson, Travis Anderson, and verbal commitment Gerald McCloud could also be moved to a cover corner.

Three of those athletes have serious speed to burn and as a result, we will see at least one of them (Anderson, Williamson, and McCloud) move over to defense.

In terms of qualifying, several guys could face problems. I've spoken with people close to Cory Groover and Irvin Brisker, and they have indicated that both guys could be in jeopardy. There also could be others, but these are the only two that I have personally confirmed at this point.

Photo of Jeff Francouer courtesy of Top Stories