Swinney reports freshmen safeties doing well
One of the areas of concern for Clemson during its national championship run last season was its lack of depth at the safety positions. The Tigers had just four scholarship safeties on their roster.
Head coach Dabo Swinney and the coaching staff addressed those issues in recruiting, and this spring they have three new safeties to help Tanner Muse, K’Von Wallace, Nolan Turner and Denzel Johnson.
Swinney said following Monday’s practice, the fourth of the spring for the defending national champions, that Joseph Charleston (6-2, 190) and Lannden Zanders (6-1, 185) have looked good to this point in practice. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Ray Thornton (6-2, 195) has missed practice due to injury.
“They are both very athletic and very conscientious,” Swinney said about Charleston and Zanders. “Joseph has picked it up pretty quickly. Lannden is still coming. Both are willing guys and we really helped ourselves in that area and when we get the other guys in here that will help a lot.”
Besides Thornton, the other guy the coaching staff is waiting on is 4-star signee Jalyn Phillips (6-1, 195), who is enrolling in school this summer.
Jefferies is making a case. Clemson defensive tackle Darnell Jefferies (6-2, 275) is taking advantage of his extra reps in spring practice with projected starters Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams out due to injury.
Swinney said the redshirt freshman stood out in Monday’s practice.
“Darnell Jefferies really caught my eye today,” he said. “I’ve been a little disappointed with him coming (into spring) because I didn’t think he had his body right where it needed to be, a little lighter. But he has picked it back up, good football player but he just has to be serious about being a great player.”
Swinney impressed by Tigers at the NFL Combine. Clemson had 11 players participate in some way or another at the NFL Scouting Combine this past week. The Tigers’ head coach was pleased with the reports he saw and heard coming out of Indianapolis, Ind., about his former players.
“Those who went did a really good job,” he said. “You can see the strength of our guys. I think Dexter (Lawrence) did a great job lifting and Mitch Hyatt wasn’t in good shape when he got (to Clemson four years ago), but he went and performed on that stage.
“Our bodies were in good shape and they ran well. It was a really good week.”
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