DT options available for Brooks

CLEMSON - There are options aplenty for second-year defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks to choose from.

With both starters returning, plus the three reserves from last season's five-man rotation along with a couple of freshmen, Clemson is as deep at defensive tackle as it is anywhere else on the team.

All of those bodies create exactly what Brooks likes to see—good, healthy competition.

"It's good when you have competition. It's good when you don't have a guy when it's just his job and there's not really anybody there to push him," he said. "That's human nature. We would all like to think you could motivate yourself to that level, but the competition is good."

Almost 10-15 pounds lighter from the off-season, Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thompson, last season's starters at tackle and nose guard, respectively.

"I give both of them a lot of credit what myself and (strength) coach (Joey) Batson and his staff talked to them about it when they came back in January," Brooks said. "They were too heavy."

Rennie Moore spent part of the spring shifting between nose guard and end.

Jamie Cumbie is back and hungry to step back onto the field at tackle after being suspended for the Music City Bowl.

Nose guard Miguel Chavis may have had the best spring out of anyone on the entire defensive line.

"We're pleased with the progress, where they are," Brooks said. "We just want them to continue to come on and be more and more consistent with what they're doing."

Coming off a red shirt freshman year, Tyler Shatley is fighting for his reps.

"He put himself in a position to where we feel like he'll be a guy that you can get some quality snaps because you're going to lose a whole bunch of these guys at one time," Brooks said.

Early enrolled freshman Josh Watson "is not quite ready" to play this fall and that's not such a bad thing.

"I think he needs some time to come on. To be in that group, we're fortunate that we do have some depth," Brooks said. "I always say, I like for guys to play when they're ready to play, not because they have to play. We want him to get a little more ready to play."

As many as four bodies from this season's group could be lost as the Tigers head into 2011. Jenkins, Cumbie and Chavis are all seniors. Thompson, a junior, could decide bolt a season early for the NFL.

"I don't know what anybody else has got, but I wouldn't trade my group for anybody in college football," Brooks said. "We have good young people to work with. They've bought into the system of what we're trying to do.

"Obviously, they've recruited well, so there are some good players."

Later this summer, Tra Thomas will arrive with the rest of the 2010 class, providing another body along the line. Clemson is also waiting for the arrival of the 2011 class' first commit, DeShaun Williams.


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