Carter will go to Prep School

Chris Carter, one of the more underrated prospects in the 2002 recruiting class, will go to Hargrove Military Academy next fall instead of Clemson. After improving his test scores, he will then try to enroll back in Tiger Town in the fall of 2003. How will his loss effect the current situation in the secondary? Details on several possible position changes are contained in this report.

DB Chris Carter of Kannapolis, North Carolina may not have been the biggest recruit to sign with the Tigers this past February, but he had just as potential as anyone in this year's class.

Carter, who played his high school football at A.L. Brown High School, is incredibly strong for his size, bench pressing 325 pounds while standing only 5-feet 11-inches tall and weighing in at 175 pounds. Besides his incredible athleticism that allowed him to play cornerback, wide receiver, and running back in high school, he also has 4.35 speed to go along with a 41-inch vertical.

Whether or not Carter could have avoided a redshirt this year is debateable. To say that the Tigers' secondary hasn't performed up to par in the last few years would be a gross understatement, and Carter certainly has all the ideal qualities that you'd like to see in a cover corner.

Could he have come on this fall and competed for a spot on the two-deep depth chart?

Possibly.

But it won't happen now after he failed to get the qualifying score in his most recent attempt of taking the SAT.

By losing Carter for at least a year, the Tigers are left with a very interesting situation.

Jeff Francouer, who was drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Braves just last week, will likely opt to play major league baseball instead of college football.

Francouer was projected as an athlete that could come in and provide significant help in the secondary as a true freshman, but it looks extremely unlikely that he'll ever where a Clemson uniform with a $2M signing bonus staring him in the face.

That leaves Clemson with Justin Miller and Larrey Williams as the only two freshman defensive backs that will arrive on campus this August. To put it another way, half the defensive backs the Tigers brought on board in February, won't be with the team this fall.

Like it or not, that should be cause for concern if you're a Tiger fan.

Fortuantely there are options.

This could open the door for one of three players to make the switch over to the secondary. Ty Zimmerman, Gerald McCloud, or Chansi Stuckey could easily transistion over to defense this fall.

Zimmerman would likely be a safety, considering he stands at 6-feet, 4-inches tall, while McCloud and Stuckey would make ideal corners.

All three players have seen significant action on defense in their high school careers, and all three have the athleticism to play any number of positions at the D-I level.

Look for one of these guys to make the move this fall, and if I had to bet on one right now, it would be none other than Gerald McCloud.

McCloud was known as a solid hitter in high school, and he has the pure speed to keep up with anyone in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

And considering the Tiger's depth at wide receiver, it only makes sense to think of McCloud first. Zimmerman is also a likely target, but he might just be too big of an offensive weapon to ignore.

"I'd like to play defense," said Zimmerman earlier this year. "But Coach Bowden said I'll be playing offense."

Stuckey might be a prime candidate for a redshirt, so his status remains up in the air. He'll come in as a quarterback, but he could easily make the switch within a few weeks after the start of practice this fall.

Stay tuned this fall, because we very well could see some serious changes once the coaching staff has a chance to more closely evaluate all of the incoming freshmen.

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