Clemson OT Shaq Anthony decides to transfer

Shaq Anthony ¬

CLEMSON - The already-thin offensive tackle depth at Clemson thinned even further Thursday, when junior right tackle Shaq Anthony decided to transfer from the Tigers.

Anthony, a 6-4, 280-pounder who played 17 games (with five starts) the past two years, informed head coach Dabo Swinney of his decision Thursday morning.

"This is an outstanding program, but I wish to make a clean start at a program where I can hopefully be a starter," Anthony said in a university release. "I want to thank all the Clemson coaches, my teammates and the Clemson family for their support.

"I have enjoyed my time at Clemson and appreciate the opportunity I've had. I will always be a Tiger."

Last fall, offensive tackles Gifford Timothy and Patrick DeStefano had their careers cut short due to injury - both those players are now student-coaches. Swinney expressed the need to heavily recruit offensive linemen going forward, which the Tigers did with two in this past class (Justin Falcinelli and Taylor Hearn) and have four more lined up in the 2015 class, including 5-star Mitch Hyatt and 4-star Jake Fruhmorgen.

For this fall, though, Anthony's departure likely opens the door for junior Joe Gore (6-5, 290) to claim the starting right tackle spot opposite Isaiah Battle. Anthony was already suspended for the Georgia opener due to a violation of team rules.

Anthony started against Wake Forest, Syracuse and Boston College last September and October, but did not appear against South Carolina or Ohio State in the final two games. If he transfers to another Division I program, he'll have to sit out the next year due to NCAA rules.

"I appreciate the hard work Shaq has put into this program," Swinney said. "Sometimes a player needs a change. I support his decision and will help him any way I can. I wish him nothing but the best."

This is the team's second personnel loss to the depth chart in two days. It was announced Wednesday running back Zac Brooks, the Tigers' leading returning rusher from 2013, will miss 2014 with a foot injury.