McDowell named started at running back
By Will Vandervort
Saturday’s two-hour scrimmage in Clemson’s Death Valley was a chance for young guys like wide receiver Mike Williams and others to show what they can do with guys like Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd sitting on the sideline. Williams did his best to show out.
The 6-foot-5, 205-pound freshman continues to impress the coaching staff as he caught three passes for 111 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown reception from backup quarterback Nick Schuessler.
“I think Mike Williams is going to be a really good player,” Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said. “He has a long way to go, but he made a few plays today. We are excited about him. A few of are other young guys are stepping up and making plays.”
Two of those guys are running backs C.J. Davidson and Wayne Gallman. Davidson again received praise from both Morris and head coach Dabo Swinney Saturday, while Gallman is being mentioned for possible playing time.
“Wayne Gallman has had an exceptional camp,” Morris said. “We have been real pleased with him. Tyshon Dye started off like a blaze of fire, but he kind of tampered off. He kind of burned out a little bit and had a little nagging injury. He has not been up to speed yet the last couple of practices.
“He will come back, but right now (Gallman) has separated himself with it.”
Morris said it’s hard to say if one of the two freshmen will play this year or not.
“At this point, I don’t know,” he said. “But you would love to redshirt them, though. That’s what I would love to do.”
Young players shine on defense, too. It wasn’t just Williams, Gallman and Davidson that took advantage of their opportunities in the scrimmage. On the defensive side, with players like Spencer Shuey and Stephone Anthony sitting out most of the scrimmage, freshman linebacker Ben Boulware showed out with a scrimmage-high seven tackles.
“He is a dog,” Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd said about Boulware.
But Boulware wasn’t the only one to play well on defense. Defensive end Shaq Lawson continues to make his case at being the No. 4 guy in the defensive end rotation thanks to his three sacks, while freshman corner Marcus Edmond had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown.
“We saw a lot of the freshmen make some plays today,” Swinney said. “You can see the impact of Shaq Lawson being here in the spring. It has made a difference for him as he came to camp advanced. Korrin Wiggins has been impressive as have a number of the other freshman defensive backs.
“We will meet soon to try to determine what players we intend to red-shirt and what players we intend to play. Of course that can change. Three weeks into the season we might play someone we intended to red-shirt because of injury or other personnel changes.”
McDowell to start. Swinney did say that senior Roderick McDowell will start the Georgia game on Aug.31. The Tigers’ head coach said McDowell is getting the nod because right now, “he deserves it.”
McDowell rushed for 450 yards on 83 carries last year and scored six touchdowns. His 450 yards ranked third on the team behind Andre Ellington (1,081) and Boyd (514). McDowell was listed as the No. 1 running back coming into camp, but sophomore Zac Brooks has been pushing for the starting job and according to Morris, “has had as good of camp, if not better, than anyone else.”
Fan Appreciation Day. Clemson will host its annual Fan Appreciation Day at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Memorial Stadium. Admission is free.