Stephone Anthony

Position: Middle linebacker

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-2, 245

Hometown: Polkton, N.C.

Last year: 131 tackles to lead the team, including 131/2 takedowns for a loss, 4 sacks, 5 pass break-ups and 3 QB pressures

He told reporters he submitted paperwork to check his NFL draft prospects, but he wouldn't share his grade. Maybe because Stephone Anthony was coy, maybe because the grade was unbecoming.

Whatever the case, Anthony was a perfectly effective college football player his junior year - I preferred Spencer Shuey, but really, take your pick - and he'll have a chance to prove he's a money-maker at the next level.

Deciding to come back for his senior year (one of three on Clemson's defense who could have made the leap), Anthony led the Tigers in tackling and durability.

Anthony became just the third linebacker in school history to log 800 snaps (he had 802), and as it were, he's only 800 snaps away from equaling Chad Carson's career record for linebacker longevity at Clemson.

What Anthony brings to the Tigers' linebacking corps more than anything else is a sure thing. With Shuey graduated, the Tigers have questions about what to do with that will linebacker spot, as well as how to handle a third linebacker or fifth defensive back on the field.

Senior Tony Steward (with his noted troublesome knees) and sophomore Ben Boulware should wage an entertaining war to become Shuey's replacement, so it'd help if Anthony handled his business against tough early opponents.

Clemson has an impressive history of linebacker continuity - since the stat started to be kept in 1976, 10 have paced the Tigers in tackling in consecutive years (including Jeff Davis.) Anthony could, and should, become No. 11.

- Aaron Brenner

Coming up: No. 9: Shaq Anthony