Tight end Jordan Leggett spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon as No. 2 Clemson gets set to host Syracuse in Memorial Stadium this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The senior is coming off a game against Florida State this past weekend in which he caught five passes for 122 yards, including the game-winning touchdown – a 34-yard catch-and-run in the Tigers’ 37-34 victory in Tallahassee, Florida.
Question: How were you able to get so open on that play?
Leggett: “It was partially the play drawn up by Coach (Jeff) Scott and Coach (Tony) Elliott, but other than that it was almost like a blown coverage that left me wide open.”
Question: Getting to play like that so close to home, on a big stage, what did that mean to you?
Leggett: “It definitely felt great. Two of my biggest games have come against FSU. Especially them not recruiting me is kind of like a “what now?” kind of thing.”
Question: Dabo (Swinney) had mentioned before the game started that you felt like you were going to have a big game. Is it something that they did defensively that made you feel like it’d be a good opportunity for you?
Leggett: “Just like the last time we played them, the middle of the field is always so wide open. So we were able to hit them on that last year and I guess they didn’t change anything this year, so it was just another big game for me.”
Question: Is there anything that’s changed your approach since Week 2, since you have really taken off since that Georgia Tech game?
Leggett: “I don’t think anything’s changed, really. I don’t find myself doing anything different. It’s just a matter of different defenses that we face. When we play these bigger teams they seem to have bigger corners, and whatnot, so it’s harder for us to take those easy fade outs. These bigger games it kind of works out better for me.”
Question: There wasn’t any outside distractions, people kind of getting in your ear because of the draft coming up in a couple months to take your focus away?
Leggett: “I got all that done before the season. This season is just clear minded.”
Question: Coach told us that Clemson tight ends have only gone for over 100 yards receiving five times in history, you had two of those. Dwayne Allen wasn’t even able to accomplish that. How special is that for you?
Leggett: “It’s definitely awesome. Setting all these high standards for tight ends that want to come here and even the tight ends that we have right now. It’s pretty incredible, I’m just trying to set the bar high.”
Question: You looked like you had a pretty good moment there when we were done with interviews the guy in an FSU shirt says the only game he’s come to this year was to watch you. Who was that?
Leggett: “That was actually one of our defensive line coaches from my high school. He was a big FSU graduate so we always bumped heads when I committed to Clemson in high school. He’s probably one of my favorite coaches. It’s just a face I noticed out of the crowd so it was just good to see somebody I knew.”
Question: You mentioned you have a lot of family and friends that are Florida State fans.
Leggett: “There’s quite a bit. You don’t really see anybody from my high school come to Clemson. It’s either UCF or FSU or Auburn.”
Question: When you decided to forgo the NFL and return you said two of your biggest reasons were to win a national title and to win the Mackey Award. Do you think having games like the other night put you in a position to win that this year?
Leggett: “I definitely feel like I’m in a good position. I’m just going to try to stay in my lane, keep my head down, and keep working. If it works out for me then it does. The national championship is my main focus, to get there and to win the game.”
Question: You talked about the Florida State connection with your high school and former coach. Is that nice that you had the winning score your last time playing those guys and you’ll always have that one on them?
Leggett: “Yeah, it definitely felt good and plus I had a lot of family there. I think that was actually the first game my mom has seen my senior year. It just felt good to be back so close to home with all my friends in the stadium. To go out there and score the game-winning touchdown… it felt really good.”
Question: I know y’all don’t put a lot of stock in the polls and the rankings, but will you be watching the selection committee’s ranking tonight?
Leggett: “Probably not, honestly. I’ll probably be on video games. It’ll definitely be interesting to see where they have us at. But by the end of the season, I think it’ll end up being a rematch hopefully.”
Question: Do you care if you get Alabama in the semi or the national championship? One way or the other, as long as you get a rematch with them?
Leggett: “I prefer it be the national championship to be on the biggest stage playing for the best team in college football.”
Question: Christian (Wilkins) said that coach addressed the playoff rankings coming out tonight, getting everybody to know. Did you guys need to hear that message or was it already programmed by what he’s been telling you all along?
Leggett: “It’s pretty repetitive. Just like last year when this stuff was coming out, he gave us the exact same message. It’s good for the freshman, but for us guys that are older we just kind of saw it coming.”