The 2017 preseason is underway and the Clemson Tigers begin the journey that they hope takes them back to the College Football Playoffs.
In this edition of our Up Downs feature we take a look at which players made a move in the first three days of camp, and are elevating their game and their position on the depth chart. We also take a look at which players have slipped a little and have some climbing to do as the Tigers get deeper into camp
Amari Rodgers: Thanks to injuries to Ray Ray McCloud and Cornell Powell Rodgers is already getting reps with the ones. Co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott called Rodgers the most mature freshman he has seen and all of the coaches have had plenty of praise for Rodgers work on and off the field.
Travis Etienne: One of the biggest questions going into camp was who will takeover for Wayne Gallman at running back. After just a few days of camp it is apparent that Etienne plans to make it a four horse race. Co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott raved about Etienne after the first day of camp and head coach Dabo Swinney had plenty of praise Saturday after Day 3.
Blake Vinson: Blake enrolled early and has made a great impression already with offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell and the other coaches. Vinson is running second-team left tackle and has positioned himself for playing time as a freshman.
Tee Higgins: Everyone expected the 5-star sensation to come in and play early for the Tigers. He has not disappointed coming in ready to compete after hitting the weight room hard in the off-season. Swinney praised Higgins and said in the future he will play at around 225 pounds but will look like he is 210. Higgins has already made several amazing catches during the first three days of camp.
Gage Cervenka: He has transitioned last year from the defensive line to the offensive line. A year later he is ready to compete for playing time. Coaches said this week that Cervenka is ready to play at center if needed and is also ready to help at guard. Swinney compared Cervenka’s transition to the one Tyler Shatley made a few years back. Shatley is now enjoying an NFL career as an offensive lineman.
Ray Ray McCloud: He has been out with a wrist injury in camp. The injury has prevented him from catching any passes. He has been doing drills without having the ball thrown his way and even getting some reps at corner. His absence has allowed Rodgers to see significant reps the first three days of practice. Scott said he expects to have McCloud back this week, but we will have to see how quickly he can get back to 100 percent.
Cornell Powell: The sophomore suffered a hamstring injury and had to miss all of Saturday’s practice. He was running with the first-team at field receiver in the place of McCloud prior to the injury. Rodgers got all the first-team reps with McCloud and Powell both out.
Tucker Israel: Israel is not participating in camp as he recovers from a stomach issues. Tucker lost a lot of weight and there is not yet a time table for his return.
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