Freshmen tight ends have hit a wall
By Will Vandervort
Clemson offensive guard David Beasley said he was a little taken back in last Saturday’s scrimmage when he looked up and saw some of the third team players holding their own against the first team.
“I look over there and I see our third team working,” he said. “They can play with some of our first teamers. I’m like, ‘Man! Clemson is kind of stacked. We are stacked right now.’”
This is the second time in the last few days that someone has talked about the Tigers’ depth. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made reference to his third team after Saturday’s scrimmage, and talked about how they have upped the level of competition in camp.
Better than last year? Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris says he is really excited about his wide receivers this season.
“I think from top to bottom, it is a stronger group than what it was a year ago at this time,” he said.
That’s strong praise for a group that other than Sammy Watkins and Adam Humphries has proved very little on the football field. The Tigers not only have to replace DeAndre Hopkins’ 82 catches, 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns, but it also has to replace tight end Brandon Ford’s 40 catches and eight touchdowns, as well as wide receiver Jaron Brown’s big third down grabs.
Morris acknowledged all of those things, but he continued about how impressed he has been with guys like Martavis Bryant, Charone Peake and Germone Hopper.
“There are some great things going on with our receiving group,” he said. “We have to continue to stress playing without the football, though.”
Even with that, replacing Ford is going to be about as tough as Morris thought it would be. He says freshmen tight ends Jordan Leggett and J.J. McCullough – who are battling with senior Stanton Seckinger for the starting job – have hit a wall.
The Clemson coach says they are trying to work through it, but the coaching staff is continuing to press them and stress them.
“This isn’t time to work out friendships and all that stuff,” he said. “They don’t care for us right now and that is good because I don’t care sometimes for the way they play. They have to be pressed and we have to continue to stress them.
“They either will get it or they won’t.”
PAT Awards. Swinney announced the winners of the PAT Awards for the month of May, June and July after practice. The PAT Award is given each month to a player who has demonstrated the epitome of what All-In means.
“It is a person who has been exemplary in all areas, academics, the weight rooms, all areas of being a Clemson football player,” Swinney said. “When you do that in all areas it translates to the field.”
Swinney announced that the winner for May was defensive back Robert Smith, for June it was linebacker Stephone Anthony and for July, it was running back Zac Brooks.
Injury update. Cornerback Darius Robinson returned to practice Tuesday after missing the last few days due to a concussion.
The Tigers will hold their third two-a-day practices of camp on Wednesday, including a situational practice in the morning in Death Valley. All practices are closed to the public.