Counting down Clemson's top 10 most important Tigers: No. 7 DE Tavaris Barnes

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is sacked by Clemson's Tavaris Barnes during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.(AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)

Taking a leap of faith here and purchasing some Tavaris Barnes stock.

For starters, don't be shocked if Barnes doesn't even match his spring game sack total (five) this fall, since Corey Crawford and Shaq Lawson quite easily could hold down that No. 2 DE position opposite Vic Beasley and keep Barnes limited to spot duty.

Consider it a gut feeling. Hey, Beasley stood out in the spring of 2013, and became a star. Why couldn't Barnes, the toast of the team in the spring of 2014, replicate some of those results?

Hey, he can only go up from where he's been. In 34 games, Barnes has produced 45 tackles, 4½ for a loss, and two sacks. Not much to brag about.

This is his fifth and final year on campus, so hey, he's committed for this long, might as well make the most of it on the field. At 22 years old, he should have the maturity to focus for the next six months, if he wants to make an impact.

"So many people have been talking to me through my career, saying 'it's time to go.' I had to talk to the man in the mirror, man," Barnes said following the spring game.

"The man in the mirror was holding me back. There ain't no holding me back anymore. The world is mine."

Strong words from a strong man. Let's see the man in the mirror have a strong year.

-Aaron Brenner


No. 10: Stephone Anthony

No. 9: Shaq Anthony

No. 8: Mackensie Alexander

Coming up: No. 6: Isaiah Battle