The New Playmaker on Defense?

How big of a steal was linebacker Brandon Maye in the 2007 signing class? Figure this, out of all the incoming freshman last fall, including the Willy Korns, the Jarvis Jenkins and the Kourtnei Browns, Maye – just a two-star prospect coming out of high school – had the most impressive summer camp.

LB Brandon Maye Profile

If it was not for a broken foot, Maye might have seen the field more than any other freshman last year. For that reason, the Clemson coaching staff is very anxious to get him on the field this spring.

"The biggest thing is getting him locked in at Will or Mike and letting him learn, and give him the opportunity to compete for a position," linebackers coach David Blackwell said. "He is a very active guy that made a lot of plays before he broke his foot last year. Before that he was in the mix to play last year as true freshman so I'm curious to see how he does when we get him out there and put him in a position to compete because I think he will be able to press for a job."

A Mobile, Ala., native, Maye was rated as the just the 76th best linebacker in the nation by, despite recording 120 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions, and five recovered fumbles as a senior at Davidson High School. He chose Clemson over Memphis, South Carolina, and Southern Mississippi.

CUTigers outlook: Look for Maye to be one of the new impact players on defense this spring. The coaches think think he has a lot of upside, and he is going to be given the opportunity to show what he can do at both weakside and middle linebacker. The key for Maye now he just has to go out and prove that he can do it.

As he showed during camp last August, he should not have any problem proving he is a playmaker.
Blackwell is happy the Tigers were able to sneak him into camp before anyone else really noticed his talent and potential.

"I think he has a lot of potential," Blackwell said. "He has nice size. He is really athletic for a taller guy and can bend his knees. He is a pretty athletic guy. From a potential standpoint, there is an awful lot of upside there."

The only two negatives to the 6-foot-2, 220-pound backer are his inexperience and the fact he wears his emotions on his sleeve. That's why Blackwell wants to get Maye on the field as soon as possible.

"He has a got a lot of ability. He has a lot of want to and he has a lot of ability and intensity," the Clemson coach said. "He just has to learn how to play under control a little bit because he has the tendency to be all over the place a little bit.

"He just has to control his emotions and play the game. I think… he just has to learn to control his emotions and play within the scheme."

With Clemson losing its top tackler in weakside linebacker Nick Watkins and second-team middle linebacker Antonio Clay not enrolled in school for a second straight spring, Blackwell feels this is a perfect opportunity for a player like Maye to sneak in and press for a starting spot at either position.

But Blackwell can not predict the future, obviously, so Maye will have to prove this spring he can be the impact player the coaches think he is.

"I think he has a great future here, but ultimately we are still just projecting so until he gets out there and plays you don't know," Blackwell said. "Everything is positive right now, but we will see when the lights come on how good of a player he is and what really happens.

"There are a lot of guys that look great on scout teams running cards, but when they have to think, play and react, they turn out not to be very good players. To predict the future, if you know anyone that can do that can, let me know. He has a lot of potential and we will see what happens."

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