SUNSET, S.C.— There was a lot of talk about the quarterback situation Tuesday at Dabo Swinney’s Media Golf Outing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee. However, there was more news coming out of the event than who will play quarterback.
Here are a few news and notes that got outshined by all the news surrounding quarterbacks Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence on Tuesday.
*Clemson defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall says he has seen enough of freshmen Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry in the spring where he feels they can help the Tigers this year.
“I saw enough in the spring. I saw them this summer doing workouts. Their body has just changed,” the Clemson coach said. “The development of their body … It just made a 360 degree turned. I’m just like ‘Wow, look at this!’
“I saw K.J. just the other day. He is like up 250 pounds right now and is running well. Xavier is an explosive athlete so I expect those guys to come in and help us a lot.”
*Freshman tight end Braden Galloway was a big topic, too. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, Tony Elliott and tight ends coach Danny Pearman all talked up the Seneca, S.C., native.
Swinney said Galloway is ahead of where former Clemson All-American Jordan Leggett was at when he was a freshman. All the coaches seem to be really excited about the young freshman’s potential.
“I was cautiously optimistic after he joined us in January,” Pearman said. “He only played a little bit of high school football. But, I have been really, really encouraged and impressed by his athleticism, his pickup of the offense, his ability to block … he is a willing kid and a tough kid. This spring he really got a grasp of what we do here. I am really looking forward to camp to see how much he has progressed this summer on his own.”
*Speaking of progressing. Swinney and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell bragged about left guard John Simpson and how hard he has worked his off-season.
“A guy no one talks about is John Simpson,” Swinney said. “He has worked hard and he is ready to have a good season for us.”
*Swinney also bragged on defensive tackle Albert Huggins. He said the Tigers just don’t have four great defensive linemen, they have five.
“Huggins is a guy that is really going to have a great year,” Swinney said. “I really think he is going to be all that he can be. I think the light has come on for him. He is strong….one of the top three strongest guys on the team.”
*There were a few notes on the injury front. Swinney said reserve linebacker James Skalski should be back before camp starts. He injured his 5th metatarsal, but it wasn’t anything serious.
Safety Nolan Turner should also be cleared to play by the time camp rolls around. Turner injured his labrum in the spring and missed the entire second half of spring practices. Swinney said the backup safety was having a great spring before the injury.
Swinney also had an update on big defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
“It’s been really fun to see him, how he’s moving, his confidence, his strength, his flexibility,” Swinney said of Dexter Lawrence, who battled toe/ankle injuries last season. “He’s excited. His confidence is through the roof.”
Offensive right guard Sean Pollard played all spring with a broken thumb according to Caldwell. He said it made it very hard for Pollard to play at times.
“He wasn’t able to use his hand as much as he would like. He got better…if Sean sets his mind to do something, he gets it done,” Caldwell said.
*Mike Reed told TCI he loves the physicality of his cornerbacks, especially Trayvon Mullen and A.J. Terrell. He said they are two of the most physical corners he has been around. He says they love to get after it and they are not afraid of a good challenge.
*Defensive tackles coach Todd Bates says there are no plans at this time to move anyone over to defensive tackle from a another position to prepare them for experienced depth next year.
As you know, the Tigers will lose Christian Wilkins and Albert Huggins to eligibility exhaustion, while Lawrence is expected to turn pro at the end of the year. That leaves Clemson with just three guys returning at defensive tackle next season … Nyles Pinckney, Jordan Williams and Darnell Jefferies.
*Caldwell said freshman offensive lineman Jackson Carman has dropped about 20 pounds over the summer, though Caldwell still wants him to lose more weight.
Caldwell said it has been a difficult process for Carman because he’s a big boy that likes to eat and there’s a lot of food around at Clemson.
*Hall likes Justin Foster at defensive end, but he wasn’t him not to try and think too much.
“That was a challenge, dealing with Justin,” Hall said. “He’s a smart guy and wants to overthink things. My challenge to him was I had to free him up and not have him overthink things as much. This spring he was able to do that.
“All the guys have come in and worked hard but Foster may be the guy (who is underrated but will step up this year) because he made such tremendous gains this spring.”
*Hall says he loves Logan Rudolph energy and what he brings to the defensive ends meeting rooms.
“I just talked to Logan last night,” the Clemson coach said. “He’s always wired up and ready to go. I love his energy. He’s gained weight, has gotten stronger and more explosive too. I look forward to seeing him go out and have a good fall practice.”
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