As Clemson gets set to start fall practice next week, there are a lot of position battles up in the air.
The boundary wide receiver position for instance is a tight-race between Tee Higgins, Trevion Thompson and Diondre Overton. At running back Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster and Adam Choice are neck-and-neck. The tight end position has Garrett Williams and Milan Richard in a close competition.
“In the past three years we have played 44 games. That is a lot of games to play in a three-year span,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “It’s not just about your front line guys, it is about your talented players that are experienced and can go out and execute at a high level behind them. That is why I feel like we have one of the deepest groups that we have had in a while.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Albert Huggins is pushing Dexter Lawrence at defensive tackle as the two are listed as co-starters heading into fall camp. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said last week Tre Lamar and Kendall Joseph are co-starters at middle linebacker, while A.J. Terrell and Mark Fields are battling it out for the starting spot at the field corner position.
Even the placekicking job is a tossup between Alex Spence and Greg Huegel.
“It is something that gradually overtime, through recruiting, we have really been able to increase our skill. Not just the top line guys but the depth at each position,” Scott said.
Of course, you can’t talk about depth and competition without mentioning the quarterback spot. Kelly Bryant, who led the Tigers to a third straight ACC Championship last year, will start practice as the No. 1 guy. However, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has indicated in the last week freshman Trevor Lawrence is not far behind and has closed the gap.
Lawrence came to Clemson in January as an early enrollee. He was the nation’s No. 1 player coming out of high school and lot of people have compared his ability to compete and learn the offense so fast to that of former quarterback Deshaun Watson when he came in as a freshman in 2014.
“That is an unfair comparison right now,” Scott said. “At this point going through spring practice, it is very similar to when Deshaun was here as far as a lot of things looked easy. For the majority of the players coming in, quarterbacks and other positions, that first spring things are happening really fast and that kind of takes a lot of time for things to slow down.
“When Deshaun showed up on campus, it looked like the game was slow around him. I saw that a couple of times with Trevor this spring. But that is the exciting part of getting to start the season, just to be able to see a lot of these freshman, who are excited to get out there and play on the field and see what they can do.”
Scott and the rest of the Tigers will get to see what they can do when they take to the practice fields on Aug. 3.
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