Clemson didn’t have to go far to find what it thinks will be a future star at the tight end position.
In December, Clemson signed local standout Braden Galloway, a product of nearby Seneca High School.
The Tigers believe they are getting a player in the mold of former Clemson great Jordan Leggett.
“We were looking for a guy that had length, athleticism,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We were looking for a guy a little bit like Leggett that we felt like we can develop into a great 3-back.
“Obviously we found Braden Galloway, right down the road. We think he is going to be a special player.”
Galloway was a two-sport athlete at Seneca who did not begin playing football until 2016, his junior year. He finished that season with 50 catches for 834 yards and nine touchdowns, and quickly realized his future was on the gridiron and not the hardwood, as good as he was on it.
Clemson extended an offer to Galloway on April 5, 2017, and he committed to the Tigers three days later.
An outstanding basketball player as well, Galloway earned Region I-AAA Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2016-17 after averaging 20.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
“This is a big-time basketball player that just kind of, like a lot of these tight ends, they decide they want to play some football,” Swinney said. “Once he realized he’s not a point guard, all of a sudden his opportunities changed.
“This will be a 260-pound kid when it’s all said and done. So, I’m excited about him.”
Clemson missed Leggett’s production at tight end last season, when five different tight ends combined for 28 receptions and 322 years and two touchdowns. The year before in 2016, Leggett hauled in 46 catches for 736 yards and seven scores.
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott thinks Galloway is ahead of where Leggett was from a physical standpoint entering Clemson and says Galloway has the potential to become a similar threat to opposing defenses.
“He reminds you a lot of Jordan Leggett in high school,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “Just that big, athletic guy. … He looks like he’s a little bit more physically developed than where Jordan was when he was coming out of high school.
“He gives you that matchup nightmare at that position. He’s going to be big enough and physical enough to be in the box, but then he’s going to spread out as a wideout and he’s going to create that matchup, not just on linebackers but he’s going to create that matchup on safeties.”
Galloway enrolled early at Clemson last month but will not be able to participate in spring practice, as he recently underwent a procedure to put a screw in his toe.
“Unfortunately he’s not going to be able to go through spring,” Swinney said. “But he’ll be in the meetings and be able to start mentally. He can still be in that weight room working and developing, so big spring for him.”