Former Clemson freshman All-American suffers setback in his knee

Clemson defensive back Travis Blanks (11) recognizes the fans before the Tigers played host to the South Carolina Gamecocks at Memorial Stadium in Clemson Saturday, November 29, 2014. Gwinn Davis / Special to the Post and Courier

CLEMSON – Safety Travis Blanks already missed one full season due to a torn ACL. Now he could be in danger of sitting out a second.

Blanks reaggravated the injury during rehab late in Clemson’s bowl practices a month ago, and had knee surgery Jan. 16, according to a team release Monday. Blanks will be absent from spring practices for the second consecutive year, and the team is hopeful he’ll return for the start of 2015 fall practices.

Blanks initially tore the ACL in a November 2013 game vs. The Citadel on a non-contact play. Of his recovery, head coach Dabo Swinney said Dec. 12, “Travis could have played this year. But he met with me before the season; he just didn’t feel like he had paid the price. He wanted to go through spring and summer. So he redshirted, which he hadn’t done before.

“He went through our power hour with all the freshmen this year, and he brought tremendous leadership to that group. He got over on that scout team and did a great job. I’ll be excited to have him back and healthy ready to go.”

Blanks has started 18 games, playing 24 in his Clemson career. He was a second-team freshman All-American in 2012 with 51 tackles and seven defended passes. He followed with 35 tackles in 11 games in 2013 before his ACL tear.

The Tigers are a tad thin at safety; they’ll have one returning starter in free safety Jayron Kearse and two backups in Jadar Johnson and T.J. Green. Otherwise, Blanks and redshirt freshman Jefferie Gibson are Clemson’s only other current scholarship players at the position.