The Tigers lost over 3,000 snaps of experience at linebacker as the 2012 season came to an end. That total is not as bad as it seems because while Corico Wright saw 1,737 of those snaps during his career, only 163 came in 2012.
In 2013 the Tigers return 3 experienced linebackers, 3 with less experience (1 coming off redshirt due to injury) and a redshirt transfer (Kellen Jones) that will be eligible after sitting out a year.
Spencer Shuey blasted out of obscurity to take the middle linebacker job away from Stephone Anthony. If that continues, it’ll be interesting to see how the coaches handle Anthony – will he be moved to another LB position to get him on the field or will he remain as Shuey’s backup?
Quandon Christian is the most experienced linebacker returning, but the reality is that Christian is on the field about 50% of the plays due to the nature of play calls against the Tigers.
Tony Steward’s two years on campus have netted only 109 snaps, placing him in danger of becoming the next Rendrick Taylor.
After seeing 90 snaps over his first two years Justin Parker sat out 2012 with an injury, but should be fully healed.
This is a critical area of need and the Tigers are hopeful that it will be addressed tomorrow (National Signing Day) as the multiple players are verbally committed that could provide depth at this position as true freshmen.
For me this group is the great unknown for the Clemson defense. Shuey is solid, if unspectacular, while Anthony has underachieved to this point.
What happens to Anthony assuming Shuey continues to start? Will Steward finally see the field for extended periods of time when the game is in doubt? Will one of the true freshmen committed to Clemson provide depth, or perhaps even play on a regular basis? After Jones drew rave reviews from the coaching staff in 2012 where does he fit in?
There are more questions than answers for this group at this point, but the clouds will hopefully begin to clear in the spring.