1. THE LEAGUE IS IN THE FUTURE
Preseason All-ACC first-team selection Jarvis Jenkins is NFL bound following the end of his senior season. He's already been named to preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Award and Outland Trophy. After Jenkins' junior season, when he finished fifth on the team with 69 tackles in 2009 and tied for second with 11 tackles for loss, he sent papers in to the NFL advisory committee and picked a third-round grade.
Junior Brandon Thompson looks to be on the same path, but it's just a matter of how soon he wants to the NFL. Last season he finished with 50 tackles from the nose guard position.
2. FOUR TIMES AS NICE
There is lots of experience returning the interior of Clemson's defensive line this fall.
Not only are Jenkins and Thompson back, but so are Miguel Chavis and Rennie Moore. Chavis, a senior, was listed as a co-starter at nose guard with Thompson on the post-spring depth chart. Defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks said Chavis had the best spring out of anyone in the group. In 2009, Chavis made 28 tackles on 315 snaps.
Moore was a nice addition to the group last season. The redshirt junior was in on 22 tackles, including 5.5 for loss—all in just 198 snaps.
3. LOOKING FOR A FIFTH
The Clemson defensive line group was sitting very pretty at the end of spring practice with five contributors from last year's rotation slated to return. But that was before Jamie Cumbie was dismissed from the team over the summer, leaving the Tigers short one body.
Redshirt freshman Tyler Shatley finished the spring third on the depth chart at nose guard. He'll be in the mix for that fifth spot with freshmen Tra Thomas and Josh Watson.
4. SIZE DOESN'T MATTER
Brooks said the extra weight carried around by Jenkins and Thompson slowed the starting pair towards the end of the 2009 season.
The duo started cutting weight in January during 'All In' drills to get into better shape for 2010.
Jenkins and Thompson finished last season in the 320-330 range. Now they've slimmed down closer to 300 and that's where they plan to stay throughout the course of this season.
5. NUMBERS DROP
The big drop in numbers after this season has the Clemson staff pounding the recruiting trail for several defensive tackle prospects. Along with Cumbie's dismissal, who was a senior, Jenkins and Chavis are on their final year of eligibility. Thompson could opt for entry to the NFL.
So far, the Tigers have already picked up commitments from Deshawn Williams, Jerome Maybank and Grady Jarrett (though Maybank could eventually move to the offensive line).
The coaching staff is not done yet.
Four-star prospects Phillip Dukes and Gabe Wright are still on Clemson's board, as well as three-star Devonte Brown.
Position facts: Defensive Tackle
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