Clemson continued its spring training session with practice on Friday night behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex. With one week remaining until the annual spring football game, the Tigers are eager to make the most of their opportunity to make an impression on the coaches. A few players spoke after practice to provide updates on team and individual progress.
Here is what we heard:
After conversing with former starter Cordrea Tankersly and defensive backs coach Mike Reed, rising sophomore cornerback K’Von Wallace decided to spend his spring working towards earning a spot in the rotation as a boundary corner. Wallace has been sharing snaps with Ryan Carter, Trayvon Mullen, and Mark Fields at the deep position, but he is confident in his ability to compete.
“Overall, it is the best position to go and compete and it is the hardest position,” Wallace said after Friday’s practice. “I feel like I’m a great athlete so to be in that position to go and compete with those big physical receivers, I feel I am a physical guy. I have the knack for it and competing is why I play the game.”
While there may be a lot of competition for starting roles in the secondary, the veterans have been making sure to take the time to provide advice and instruction to the younger members of their position groups.
“It is great to go out there and compete and getting better every day,” Wallace said. “It is great talking to my teammates and letting them talk to me and encouraging me. Like Ryan Carter, he is always teaching me. Just being behind him, he is a great competitor and a great leader, and is teaching me the ropes.”
Senior tight end D.J. Greenlee also realizes the responsibility that comes when veteran leaders depart for the next level, and he has taken the responsibility and become more vocal according to the coaches.
“(Jordan) Leggett, man what a great player. Anything you asked him, any question he always had an answer. He’s just like a big brother, just being able to go out there and run the right routes, get off the line the proper way, he just have taught us everything,” Greenlee said. “Now it is my time to step up.”
For linebacker Chad Smith, the best part of the spring has been seeing the freshmen and early enrollees make significant progress. As a former mid-year enrollee himself, Smith tries to act as a mentor to young linebackers like Baylon Spector and Logan Rudolph.
“Being able to help them come along and then see there progress has been probably one of the best parts of the spring,” Smith said.
However, Smith has also been pleased with his own personal performance this spring, saying that his communication skills on the field knowledge in the film room have helped to elevate his game to a new level in the off-season.
“I honestly feel like this spring has been by far my best spring, just getting out there and competing, having a few years under my belt. I am entering my third spring actually, so it has been good. It’s been good to get around the guys and compete out there and feed off the older veterans,” Smith said. “Overall, I think this has been a really good spring for me personally.”
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