AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said wide receiver Deon Cain is back on the team full-time. Swinney told The Clemson Insider and other members of the media from the ACC Spring Meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., on Tuesday.
Cain of course was suspended for the College Football Playoff Semifinal Game at the Orange Bowl and then in the College Football Playoff Championship Game as well after failing a drug test two days before the Tigers’ win over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Swinney also held the sophomore out of spring practices, though Cain was allowed to participate in other team functions and activities.
“He has done his time. I sat him for two games, big ones, and I did not have to. I just felt like I need to get his attention. I’m in this for the long haul, not sure term,” Swinney said. “I want that young man to have a chance to be successful long term and I felt like, you know what, I needed to draw a line in the sand here and see if I can get this kid to see the big picture and understand the consequences of his actions, and not just now, but further down the road for him.”
Cain caught 34 passes for 582 yards and five touchdowns in 2015. His 17.1 yards per catch led the Tigers as midway through the season he became the vertical threat Deshaun Watson and Clemson needed.
Starting with the NC State game, he scored one touchdown in five straight games. Four of his five touchdowns were 38 yards or more, including a 55-yard touchdown reception against rival South Carolina. He also had a 38-yard catch-and-run for a score that helped the Tigers beat Florida State.
Cain also had a 69-yard reception against Boston College.
“To his credit, he could have left. It’s not like prison. He can walk out anytime he wants. I laid out what was going to happen this spring and he chose to stay,” Swinney said. “I think that says a lot about Deon. He is a great kid. He is not a bad kid at all. He has a great mom, an unbelievable mom. He has a sweet spirit to him. He just made bad decisions.
“He was being held accountable for those things and he came back and has done everything we have asked him to do and we did not allow him to practice this spring. Again, I’m really proud of what he has done and he is continuing to work through this process.”