Dabo Swinney is happy with what he’s seen from Jackson Carman through the first week of spring practice, and Clemson’s head coach is looking for the rising sophomore offensive lineman to take a big step forward in his development heading into the 2019 season.
“He knows what he has to do, and I’ve just been real pleased with him,” Swinney said after the Tigers’ practice on Friday. “He’s still got to grow up a little bit – maturity, accountability, just some little things from time to time. He’s still a young guy. He’s coming off a true freshman year. But I expect him to take a giant leap between now and September, and I’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t, in particular physically.”
Swinney says Carman’s size — he is listed at 6-foot-5, 345 pounds — is his best asset, but can also be his worst asset at times.
“He’s still got some work to do body wise. It’s his best asset and his worst asset,” Swinney said. “He’s a very blessed person, physically, for his position and his craft. He’s incredibly athletic. He’s naturally strong. But it’s also the worst part because he’s got to really work hard to maintain because he can get big in a hurry.
“But he’s in a good place right now. He’s getting stronger. He has – not quietly – he’s loudly had a good seven days. I’m very encouraged with him. In fact, I told him that the other day. I said, ‘I really haven’t even noticed you, and that’s a good thing.’ He’s just kind of doing his job.”
Carman, a former five-star prospect from Fairfield, Ohio, committed to Clemson during the early signing period in December 2017 and then enrolled a month later. The highly touted prospect got his feet wet as a freshman last season, when he saw reserve action at left tackle and played 209 snaps over 13 games.
Swinney says Carman has a high football IQ to go with his size, strength and athleticism, and believes he has a bright future if he can stay in great shape from a physical standpoint.
“If he will really commit physically, he can be special because he is a very smart young man,” Swinney said. “I mean like really smart. He understands the game, he’s got good instincts, he understands the nuances of the position. He’s played now. He’s so much more confident. Understands defense. He has the right questions, and when he does make a mistake, he understands why.
“So, if he will really, really commit to do what he needs to do physically, he can be a special player. No doubt. Really pleased with him to this point.”
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