Clemson sophomore offensive tackle Jackson Carman is much improved from a season ago, and it showed with his performance in Week 1 of the 2019 season.
Carman made his first career start and played 44 snaps in the 52-14 win over Georgia Tech on Aug. 29, helping the Tigers to their most rushing yards (411) in a season opener since 1957.
One of Carman’s highlights was a pancake block that helped pave the way for Travis Etienne’s 90-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter.
“He had four or five knockdowns, I think,” Clemson senior offensive lineman Gage Cervenka said this week. “That’s really good as a (sophomore).”
Carman, a former five-star prospect from Fairfield, Ohio, drew praise from head coach Dabo Swinney during fall camp for his maturation and the strides he has made as a player.
Swinney called Carman a “different dude now” than he was as a freshman in 2018, and Cervenka agrees that Carman has completely transformed for the better.
“I feel like he has just exploded,” Cervenka said. “He seems like a whole different person than he was last year when he first got here. He had a great first game. He was very dominant, he was very technically sound, and he’s taking things very seriously.”
After playing 209 snaps over 13 games as a reserve in 2018, Carman entered the 2019 season with big shoes to fill as the replacement at left tackle for four-year starter and two-time All-American Mitch Hyatt.
Cervenka has been impressed by the way Carman has stepped up to fill that void.
“He wants to be a great player, he wants to be a leader, and he’s a vocal guy, which is great,” Cervenka said. “He’s really blown up and it’s great to see as a young talent. He’s got all this potential and so much that he can improve on as well. The sky is the limit for him. He’s huge, he’s big, he’s strong and he’s quick, he’s athletic – he’s a freaky athlete, so it’s great to see how he’s progressed and see how he’ll end up this season.”
Although Carman has established himself as a starter on the O-line, he is still hungry to get better and learn from the veterans up front like Cervenka.
“He’s a guy that he wants to know everything, which is great,” Cervenka said. “He likes to ask a lot of questions. So, he loves the knowledge part of it, and that’s big.”
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