Projecting the Clemson Football Depth Chart: Safety

Recently, I noticed that Clemson football cornerbacks didn't have much experience on their resumes. The same cannot be said for security.

Starting lineup: RJ Mickens, Khalil Barnes, Kylon Griffin

Planned substitutes: Tyler Venables, Sherrod Covil, Ricardo Jones

Reserves: Rob Billings, Noah Dixon, Kylen Webb, Joe Wilkinson

Mickens' decision to return was significant for this group following the transfer transfer of Andrew Mukuba, who will play for Texas this season. He should be one of the team leaders on defense along with linebacker Barrett Carter.

Barnes was sensational as a freshman. The entire South Carolina game wasn't spectacular, but the way Barnes started things off with a scoop n' score and an interception on back-to-back defensive snaps was exhilarating. Barnes needs to avoid the second-year slump that hit Mukuba a few seasons ago.

Defensive co-coordinator Mickey Conn has stated that Mickens can play any safety position on the team, so I don't think free safety vs. strong safety concerns will determine who takes the third safety position (Barnes will be the one). be a nickel/safety hybrid). where Mukuba started last season).

I'm leaning slightly towards Griffin being the third starter. We didn't see a lot of him in 2023 – 160 total snaps – but by the end of the season he had settled in and made his plays. He finished with two interceptions. Griffin has flashed, and I think he's a strong candidate for the starting third safety spot.

The other candidate is veteran Venables, who missed the entire 2023 season while recovering from surgery. Venables was active on the sidelines last season and will essentially be a player/coach. He might start, but otherwise he will be one of the most experienced backups the Tigers can hope for.

Covil would be the next most experienced player and should see playing time. After that, it comes down to who comes into fall camp and shows they deserve snaps.

I'm excited about freshman Jones, who has been the favorite of several high school recruiting analysts. The other name we've heard a lot is Billings, which has left a positive impression on employees.