Monday Morning Quarterback
Usually a spring game does not tell you too much about a team and for the most part that was the case from this past Saturday’s Orange & White Spring Game in Clemson.
Coaches will not show too much in a spring game because they know other teams are watching, and in Clemson’s case it is hard to judge off the game because head coach Dabo Swinney splits up the teams so the fans can enjoy a more traditional game. However, there is something we learned about the Tigers on Saturday.
Clemson is extremely talented.
I know that is not earthshattering news, but talent was oozing all over the field at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. From Trevor Lawrence to Justyn Ross to Tee Higgins to Travis Etienne to K’Von Wallace to Xavier Thomas to Isaiah Simmons to A.J. Terrell, talent was everywhere.
Even more impressive was watching Clemson’s talented freshman on both sides of the football. Spring games don’t usually introduce us to so many future stars, but when you recruit at the level at which Clemson is recruiting these days, it is easy to see the talent in the new players too.
Did you see the sideline catch Joseph Ngata made in the second quarter? Did you see the play Frank Ladson made in the open field? Ngata led all receivers with 127 yards on five catches, while Ladson was not too far behind with 102 yards on five receptions as well.
How about defensive back Sheridan Jones? He was all over the place making plays for the White team. He led the White team with seven tackles, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.
Freshman punter Aidan Swanson averaged 40.9 yards per punt and nailed three of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line, including a 47-yard punt that was downed at the five.
I know Clemson fans are worried about the defense after losing five defensive linemen, plus two starting linebackers and one corner. But did you see all the talent flying around on defense on Saturday?
Granted, replacing Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Albert Huggins, Kendall Joseph, Tre Lamar and Treyvon Mullen will not be easy, but did you see Logan Rudolph and Xavier Thomas disrupting plays in the backfield? Did you see Justin Foster making tackles behind the line of scrimmage? Did you see K.J. Henry dropping back in coverage? Did you see Shaq Smith and Mike Jones making plays at linebacker?
Did you see that true freshman Joseph Charleston led the Orange team with eight tackles? Did you see Kyler McMichael and Derion Kendrick making plays at cornerback?
So, if I learned one thing from Clemson’s spring game on Saturday it is this … the Tigers have a ton of talent. There is a reason why Clemson will likely be the preseason No. 1 team come August. The defending national champions are just too darn good not to be.