Dabo Swinney says all nine of the freshmen who enrolled in school back in January have made big strides this spring and he does not feel like the shine of Saturday’s Orange & White Spring Game at Death Valley will be too much for them.
One young player in particular stood out to the Clemson head coach during Monday’s practice at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. Former Seneca High School standout Braden Galloway, who has been recovery from a foot injury he suffered in a game in the fall at nearby Seneca High School, got his first opportunity to go live this spring and the tall tight end was quiet impressive.
“I was excited to see Braden Galloway out there today,” Swinney said after practice. “Today was the first day he was able to pop around a little bit. I’m really encouraged because he is willing and I think he has the right attitude.
“He is very athletic. I’m glad I got a sneak peek at him a little bit and did not have to sit around and wait until the fall. I think that will be good for his confidence, too.”
Besides Galloway, Swinney has been pleased with all of the true freshmen, saying “they have made good strides.” Obviously, former five stars Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry at defensive end, Josh Belk at defensive tackle, Jackson Carman on the offensive line and Derion Kendrick at wide receiver will play in Saturday’s spring game, which is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m.
“All of those guys have made good strides this spring,” Swinney said. “They are nowhere near being ready to go play (in the fall) today, but they don’t have to be. That is the purpose of the spring, to expose them, teach them, see what sticks and then go back through all the installation at a slower pace this summer.
“They will get everything again, all the skills and drills. It is so much fun for me to see the guys transformation, the guys who put the work in from the end of spring to fall camp. You go, ‘Dang! Who is this guy? He has improved.’ So it is great to see the guys who put in the work because that is usually what happens.”
Swinney says he has no doubt that all of his early enrollees will make big leaps this summer.
“Some of it will be more mental, and some of it will be more physical,” he said. “We have a few of them that really need to make strides physically, but they all have to get better mentally.”
Galloway is one of those young players who has to get better physically, but Swinney likes what he has seen from him in just the short time he has been able to practice this spring.
The Clemson coach even indicated Galloway might see some action in the spring game on Saturday.