Super Soph confident as ever

CLEMSON – Rashard Hall exploded onto the scene last fall when he tied for third in school history for interceptions by a freshman.

He was named Freshman All-American by Scout.com after grabbing six interceptions and making 63 tackles in 501 snaps as the backup free safety.

"Once I got on the field that very first game and came out there against Middle Tennessee, I knew it was going to be a pretty good season for me," Hall said. "There was an opportunity. As long as I kept doing what my coaches asked me to do and being disciplined, I figured I would have good opportunities throughout the season.

"Six interceptions are great for a freshman. You wouldn't have though that at the beginning of the season."

Options for opposing quarterbacks weren't any better on the other side of the field where DeAndre McDaniel roamed. He topped Hall's mark with eight interceptions in 2009.

"Dre is just a hard-nosed, tough-type safety. Every NFL team should want him. I learned stuff from him on the field that I can't necessarily learn on the board," Hall said.

Those two combined with a solid core of cornerbacks to rank as one of the top defensive backfields in the nation last season. Clemson's pass defense gave up only 163 yards per game, seventh-best in the NCAA and best in the ACC. The Tigers' pass efficiency defense was 21st in the country and third in the conference.

Two starters from that secondary are gone. Cornerbacks Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor are trying to catch on in the NFL.

"All we lose really is leadership," Hall said. "I think we have some of the best corners in the NCAA right now with Marcus Gilchrist and Byron Maxwell. The next man in mentality that we have will be beneficial for us."

Now that Gilchrist has moved over to the starting cornerback spot, Hall has stepped into the starting job at free safety.

"My expectations are to be an every down safety for my team. I want to be a big every down safety against the run and the pass," Hall said. "That's the only expectation I have going into the season."

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