Defensive End/Tackle/Offensive Tackle
University of South Carolina Gamecocks
Georgetown, South Carolina
Hargrave Military Academy
Carvers Bay High School
It surprised many when Geathers opted to leave South Carolina for the National Football League, as most talent evaluators felt he needed at least another season to allow his football skills to catch up to his athletic ability. Still, standing a shade under 6:08 with that incredible reach (37 ¾-inch arm length), he is going to be a pleasant project for some position coach to try and unearth his talents.
The Geathers family already has a history in the National Football League. His father, Robert, Sr., was a defensive lineman at South Carolina State before spending six seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Clifton's brother, Robert, Jr., was a standout defensive lineman at the University of Georgia and currently performs for the Cincinnati Bengals as a defensive end.
Their uncle, Jumpy Geathers, was an All-Pro defensive lineman during his NFL career that began in 1984 with the New Orleans Saints and ended in 1997 with the Denver Broncos. Jumpy's son, Jeremy, was a defensive end at Nevada-Las Vegas (2006-08).
Geathers first attended Carvers Bay High School, where he was an All-State offensive lineman as a junior. He added 100 tackles with four sacks on the defensive side of the ball.
Regarded as one of the top down linemen in the country as a senior, he received a five-star prospect rating from Scout.com. After his final season, he participated in the U.S. Army All-American game in January 2006.
Needing to improve his academics, Geathers attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham (Va.) in 2006, where he was coached by Robert Prunty. He was a four-star prospect and rated the 14th-best overall prep prospect in the country, according to Rivals.com.
Geathers received scholarship offers from Clemson, Florida and Florida State, but decided to enroll at South Carolina in 2007. He played in eleven games, but saw limited action, finishing his freshman season with two solo tackles.
As a sophomore, Geathers competed in all thirteen games, playing behind Jordin Lindsey at left defensive end. He did earn his first collegiate star vs. UAB, going on to record 29 tackles with 2.5 sacks and a pair of quarterback pressures.
Prior to the 2009 season opener, Geathers was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and public drunkenness. Police arrested him after the lineman was involved in a fight outside a nightclub, as he suffered a cracked right orbital bone in his battle with security. Head coach Steve Spurrier suspended him for the Gamecocks' first game.
Upon his return, he shared left defensive end duties with Devin Taylor before taking over starting duties for the final eight games. He finished with 41 tackles (27 solos), as he caused two fumbles. He had 3.5 sacks to go with 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Despite being told by the NFL advisory board that he was considered a late round draft pick, Geathers surprised the Gamecocks coaching staff when he decided to bypass his senior year by entering his name into the 2010 NFL Draft. "His brother was not projected real high. And got drafted, made the team and has made a lot of money. So when he looks at that, Clifton's going to say, 'That's me right there,'" Spurrier said. "I still think he should have stayed. But if he's gone, he's gone."
Positives…Has an athletic frame with medium-sized thighs and good calf development, very long arms and good upper body strength…Displays decent quickness off the snap and adequate balance when moving along the line, demonstrated good swim moves, but is more of a bull rusher who struggles keeping his hands active to do anything more but push the blocker back into the pocket…Best when shooting the gaps, as he has the short area burst to penetrate, but does not show consistency in keeping his pad level down…
Better fit for tackle, as he can hold ground and anchor at the point of attack and seems to have the ability to use that long arm reach to wrap up and secure ball carriers in the inside rush lanes…Keeps a wide leg base to hold ground at the point of attack…Has the closing speed to chase and get to the quarterback when shooting the gaps, but loses balance often when having to give a long chase coming off the edge…Has enough functional strength to defeat double teams and will counter with a quick spin move to escape in tight quarters, but has to develop more moves to be an impact performer coming off the edge.
Negatives…Has tight skin (little room for additional frame growth)…Has a little up field burst to him, but tends to look to see if the ball is being thrown rather than just turning it loose on the quarterback…Lacks consistent hand usage and is late at times with his hand placement…Shows good lateral agility, but not real consistent to use it when closing (will show a good chase to the ball, then, at times, will simply jog to finish the play)…Gets the ball carriers down when he delivers a hit, but will arm tackle at times…Plays with poor balance when on the move and ball carriers can easily evade him by redirecting…His poor hand usage results in him getting driven to the ground, as he will leave his chest exposed for blockers to get a good piece of his jersey…Slips often when trying to bend the corner and his inability to get his pads down make him susceptible to low blocks…Plays a lot on his athleticism and needs to dedicate more hours to film study and class work, as there are times he has no conception of what he should be doing on the field…Needs to improve his reads, as he is often fooled by misdirection and has to get a better feel for the snap cadence, as he can be drawn off-side and this will then see him look hesitant getting off the ball…Needs a clean lane in order to get to the quarterback, as he rarely uses his hands to get placement and shed blocks…Seems disinterested when having to give a long chase to the ball (prefers to play in the short area)…At times, he will lose position on the corner, especially when he keeps his pads high, as he gets washed out on down blocks…Has had some off-field issues that could bring up some red flags due to character.
Compares To…KEVIN HUNTLEY-ex Atlanta…Geathers should have heeded the NFL advisory board and returned to school, as he is simply not prepared to compete at the next level. Yes, he is an imposing physical specimen, but at his size, he lacks the ability to sink his weight and struggles when having to pursue long distances. He has never been a "student of the game" and has also had academic and character issues. He might be a better fit inside, as he is strictly a bull rusher with little burst coming off the edge. He could also become a developmental project for some team looking to capitalize on his size and reach by bulking him up and making him an offensive lineman. Still, there are too many holes in his game and wonder if he would dedicate the extra hours needed, rather than him continuing to feel that he can get by strictly on athleticism.
Geathers started 9-of-36 games at South Carolina, recording 72 tackles (46 solos) with six sacks for minus 33 yards, 12.0 stops for losses totaling 54 yards and eight quarterback pressures…Caused three fumbles.
Geathers was suspended for the season opener vs. North Carolina State following his August arrest…Returned to play in twelve games, starting the final eight contests at left defensive end…Recorded 41 tackles (27 solos) with 3.5 sacks for minus 22 yards, 8.5 stops for losses of 41 yards and five quarterback pressures…Caused a pair of fumbles.
2009 GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Caused a fumble and made three solo tackles vs. Florida Atlantic…Added six tackles with a stop for a 4-yard loss vs. South Carolina State…Added five hits (4 solos) vs. Kentucky and caused a fumble when he sacked QB Greg McElroy for a 5-yard loss vs. Alabama…
Added a 6-yard sack vs. Vanderbilt and posted seven tackles (5 solos), as he produced 1.5 sacks of QB Tim Tebow and had 4.5 stops for minus 25 yards vs. Florida…Closed out his career with four tackles and a pass deflection vs. Connecticut in the Papajohns.com Bowl.
Saw extensive playing time while rotating in with the second unit...Played in all thirteen games, making one start vs. Alabama-Birmingham while stationed at left defensive end…
Finished with 29 tackles (18 solos), 2.5 sacks for minus 11 yards and 3.5 stops for losses of 13 yards…Credited with two QB pressures and caused a fumble.
2008 GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Made his first career start vs. UAB, responding with five tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss and a quarterback hurry in the contest...Credited with a 5-yard sack when he forced a Jevan Snead fumble at Ole Miss that Nathan Pepper recovered and returned for a touch-down...Added a half sack for minus 3 yards in the win at Kentucky...Named the Most Improved Defensive End coming out of the spring.
Enrolled at South Carolina in January and went through spring drills...Played in eleven games, but saw limited action…Collected a pair of tackles during his freshman campaign, both coming vs. South Carolina State...Also credited with one quarterback hurry on the season...Did not play in the season finale vs. Clemson.
Attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham (Va.) in the fall, where he was coached by Robert Prunty and was a teammate of fellow Gamecock Ladi Ajiboye...A four-star prospect who originally committed to Georgia before casting his lot with the Gamecocks...Regarded as the 14th-best prep school prospect in the country by Rivals.com.
2009 Season…South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier suspended Geathers for the season opener vs. North Carolina State after he was arrested by Columbia police and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and public drunkenness. Police arrested Geathers in late August (8/220 after the lineman was involved in a fight outside a nightclub. The reports say that Geathers was arrested just after 3 a.m. at Club ICE on Lady Street in the Vista, after police found him fighting with club security. The junior was slurring his words, cursing and smelled of alcohol. He was taken to Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, according to the report, but was no longer in custody on Sunday afternoon.
2009 Season…Geathers suffered a cracked right orbital bone during his arrest in late August.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
5.03 in the 40-yard dash…1.80 10-yard dash…2.96 20-yard dash…4.72 20-yard shuttle…
7.75 three-cone drill…36-inch vertical jump…9'1" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times…37 ¾-inch arm length…11 1/8-inch hands.
Attended Carvers Bay (Hemingway, S.C.) High School…All-State offensive lineman as a junior…Added 100 tackles with four sacks on the defensive side of the ball…Regarded as one of the top down linemen in the country as a senior, he received a five-star prospect rating from Scout.com…After his final season, he participated in the U.S. Army All-American game in January 2006.
African-American Studies major…His father, Robert, Sr., was a defensive lineman at South Carolina State before spending six seasons with the Buffalo Bills…Clifton's brother, Robert, Jr., was a standout defensive lineman at the University of Georgia and currently performs for the Cincinnati Bengals as a defensive end…Their uncle, Jumpy Geathers, was an All-Pro defensive lineman during his NFL career that began in 1984 with the New Orleans Saints and ended in 1997 with the Denver Broncos…Jumpy's son, Jeremy, was a defensive end at Nevada-Las Vegas (2006-08)…Born 12/11/1987…Resides in Georgetown, South Carolina.