When he looks at his tight end position, Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott likes what he sees.
Granted, he has to replace All-American and record holding tight end Jordan Leggett, but he, along with tight ends coach Danny Pearman feel they have the guys on campus that can do it.
Milan Richard, Cannon Smith, Garrett Williams and D.J. Greenlee are four guys that have logged valuable playing time over the course of the last two seasons, while J.C Chalk is a young player they feel can get in the mix this year as well. There is also Shadell Bell, who moved over from wide receiver to tight end, last year and brings a different dynamic to the unit.
“I like the way all those guys are improving, but until we get out of the way, put the ball down and get off the field and let them compete, we will not know,” Elliott said.
What the Clemson coaches do know is that each year is different, and as they move through the spring and get into the fall, they will have a better idea on who they can count on.
“I think that was something we had to learn with last year’s team,” Elliott said. “I think everybody wanted the ’16 team to be like the ’15 team, but we were a little bit different so each year it presents a personnel grouping and a group of guys and their temperament will determine how we rotate, but we will not know that until we get into the fall.”
Through the first four practices of the spring, Elliott is starting to see some of the guys show improvement. They feel Richard is a guy that is going to progress through the course of the spring as well as Williams.
“Milan naturally is a guy we feel like is going to progress there,” Elliott said. “We like his confidence level. You are starting to see him move around and make some catches and being more consistent.
“You are seeing Garrett is starting to improve. He is the type of guy that gave us a lot in the running game and works every single day to be that passing threat and that matchup problem that Jordan was.”
Elliott also likes what he is seeing out of Greenlee.
“He is a guy that has been in the system a while that is going to have an opportunity,” the Clemson coach said.
The Tigers will have a situational scrimmage this afternoon, which Elliott says will give the coaching staff something to look over and truly evaluate when it comes to judging personnel and formulating a true depth chart.
Clemson will have its first full scrimmage next Wednesday.
—Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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