Spring Outlook: Offensive Tackles

Spring Outlook: Offensive Tackles


Spring Outlook: Offensive Tackles


By Will Vandervort and Hale McGranahan / Photo courtesy Clemson University .

With Mitch Hyatt, Jake Fruhmorgen, Zack Giella and Noah Green all enrolled early, Clemson will enter spring practice next month with more quality depth on the offensive line than it has had in years. And though they are only freshmen they will at least provide competition at a position that did not have enough bodies to form a two-deep depth chart last fall.


Isaiah Battle, Sr., 6-foot-7, 290 pounds

About: Battle is without a doubt the Tigers’ best offensive tackle and is one of the team’s most athletic linemen overall. Last year, the rising senior had 18 knockdown blocks in 12 games, while recording 824 snaps. His best game came against South Carolina when the coaches named him co-offensive player of the game. He recorded two knockdowns against the Gamecocks and Oklahoma to end the year.

Strengths: Because he has a basketball player’s body type, Battle uses his athletic ability and his long arms to contain speed rushing defensive ends.

Weaknesses: He is his own worst enemy. He was suspended for one game and missed another start due to violation of team rules last fall. Sometimes can be bull rushed by a bigger defensive end. Needs to bulk up and get stronger.

Joe Gore, Sr., 6-foot-5, 290 pounds

About: Outside of Battle, Gore is Clemson’s most experienced offensive tackle. He has played in 20 games in his career, including three starts, which came last season. He had to have his appendix removed during the season which forced him to miss five games.

Strengths: He, like Battle, has outstanding athleticism for an offensive lineman.

Weaknesses: He needs to put more weight on and get stronger. He also could do a better job of kicking out. The extra size and strength will help him from getting bull rushed by strong defensive ends who have dominated him at times in the past.

Maverick Morris, So., 6-foot-4, 295 pounds

About: Morris appeared in four games last season. This is the year the coaches have pointed to in which he can provide some depth at the tackle positions.

Strengths: Has good quickness and is technically sound.

Weaknesses: Like a lot of Clemson’s offensive tackles, he needs to get stronger and bulk up. He can also do a better job with keeping his arms inside and maintain proper balance and leverage.

Justin Falcinelli, Fr., 6-foot-3, 305 pounds

About: Redshirted last season. He was rated as the No.  12 player in Maryland by Rivals.com and the No. 16 player in Maryland by 247Sports.com. He was a three-time all-state selection and consensus first-team all-state as a junior and senior.

Strengths: He is bigger than some of the others and according to Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, he really gained a lot of strength during power-hour sessions last fall.

Weaknesses: The spring will give us an idea of how much he has grown. The offensive line positions are always the toughest to learn in football, especially when it comes to adjusting to the speed of oncoming defensive ends and linebackers.

Taylor Hearn, Fr., 6-foot-4, 325 pounds

About: Redshirted last year. He could also move to guard. He is very athletic and was a three-year starter at Williston-Elko where he was rated as the No. 15 player in South Carolina by Rivals and No. 17 by ESPN. He was also a kicker and led his high school in home runs on the baseball field.

Strengths: He is one of the Tigers strongest linemen and has good size and range.

Weaknesses: He needs to adjust to the speed of the game, while maintaining proper balance and leverage.

Jake Fruhmorgen, Fr., 6-foot-5, 280 pounds

About: The U.S. Army All-American was a four-star prospect at Tampa-Plant (Florida). According to the 247 composite rankings, he’s the No. 8 offensive tackle in the class of 2015. Fruhmorgen committed to Clemson over a number of the nation’s top programs, including Alabama, where his father went to school.

Strengths: Fruhmorgen has the frame that will allow him to remain at tackle on a full-time basis. He’s quick off the ball and possesses good feet, which could allow him to play either left or right tackle.

Weaknesses: Fruhmorgen could add a little more size, but that isn’t necessarily a weakness. Coming out of high school, you’d rather have an offensive lineman that could use some extra pounds, not lose them.

Zach Giella, Fr., 6-foot-5, 286 pounds

About: LSU looked to be in the driver’s seat for Giella until Clemson came along and started to make its push. A three-star prospect out of Augusta Christian, Giella played tackle during his first three years in high school before moving to center as a senior. He’s classified as a tackle by the recruiting services, but he could move inside to center at Clemson.

Strengths: Giella plays with an edge about him, particularly as a run-blocker. He has no problem driving defenders into the ground, so finishing blocks certainly won’t be an issue.

Weaknesses: In high school, he tended to play a little high and his feet aren’t quite as quick as the other offensive linemen Clemson added in 2015.

Noah Green, Fr., 6-foot-5, 280 pounds

About: The Boiling Springs product committed to Clemson over offers from South Carolina, UNC And Vanderbilt. And, like his fellow 2015 offensive linemen signees, Green remained firm with his pledge to the Tigers. He was rated as a four-star by ESPN, but Scout, Rivals and 247 listed him as a three-star.

Strengths: Green is a quality athlete with really good feet. He moves extremely well and looks good while pulling, so a move inside to guard could be in the cards.

Weaknesses: While there’s a lot to like about Green, he’ll need to clean up some of his technique, particularly as a pass-blocker. Green will also benefit from some time in the weight room.

Mitch Hyatt, Fr., 6-5, 285 pounds

About: There was a point during his high school career when Hyatt was considered the best offensive tackle in the country. Some thought he was the best overall prospect, too. The five-star prospect is the nephew of former Clemson defensive tackle Dan Benish.

Strengths: An elite athlete, Hyatt possess just about every trait that folks look for in a left tackle. He’s got the frame, feet and skill that will translate to the college level. It’s just a matter of how soon he puts it into action.

Weaknesses: Over the last year of his high school career, the knock against Hyatt was his lack of size. Though he reportedly checked in at 285 while in Texas for the U.S. Army game, Hyatt still needs to add size and strength at Clemson.



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