There is just over a week remaining before the No. 5 Clemson Tigers are back on the field to face Kent State to open the 2017 season.
After Thursday evening’s practice the media spoke with head coach Dabo Swinney and co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott. Here is what we heard after Thursday’s practice:
It was first announced by Elliott that C.J. Fuller will be Clemson’s starting running back on Sept. 2.
“In terms of the first guy it’s going to be C.J. Fuller,” Elliott said. “He finished up last season running second behind Wayne but also came into the spring as the No. 1 guy. He held his own during camp.”
Swinney agreed and talked about how proud of Fuller he is for how far he has come.
“He has earned that,” the Clemson coach said. “He has been the most consistent. They are all going to play, but I’m really proud of Fuller and you saw that last year.
“He really started to emerge with his confidence and just how he practiced. Just his commitment to being a good player so I’m really proud of him. He’s a very good football player. A very, very good player. Very good in the passing game, good protections, he’s smart, he’s instinctive, he’s an excellent runner, he’s a load to tackle and he’s fast.”
Although Fuller has won the starting job, sophomore Tavien Feaster and junior Adam Choice are right behind him battling hard to be the second guy.
“Then the next guy is going to be practice to practice, day to day until we get to the game,” Elliott said. “Right now you got Choice and Feaster that are battling out to be the second guy. I think all three of them are deserving of playing time so it’s a much better situation than in the past. We have a lot more depth with those three guys that are all capable of having quality reps.”
Milan Richard has solidified himself as the starting tight end, but it will certainly be a task replacing former Clemson standout and current New York Jet, Jordan Leggett.
“I think he’s had a great camp, and I think he’s well prepared,” Swinney said. “Now he’s just got to go do it. He’s certainly prepared. He knows what to do, he’s been in all the situations, he has game experience, and he’s going to get the opportunity to fill that void. He just needs some success on game day and continue to build that confidence from there.”
Although it will be a challenge to fill the shoes of Leggett, Swinney is very confident in Richard and feels that as far as blocking goes, Richard is ahead of him in that category.
“Milan did play tight end (in high school),” Swinney said. “Leggett, he never hit anybody until he got here, and he didn’t take to it very well either. That took a little grooming and a little buying in and that took some time, and then physically he had to really develop, but Milan played tight end, even though he was at a smaller school and all that type of stuff. But he’s definitely ahead in that regard. He’s got what it takes. He’ll do fine.”