After the first four days of spring practice, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney could not single out just one or two newcomers that have stood out to him early on.
According to Swinney, all 15 of the midyear enrollees that arrived on campus in January have already caught his eye during practice and flashed their potential.
“To be honest with you, they’ve all flashed to me,” Swinney said following Monday’s practice.
Swinney has been particularly impressed by the trio of true freshmen offensive linemen – Mitchell Mayes, Paul Tchio and Bryn Tucker – considering the positional difficulty.
“That’s a hard position to play, especially when you’re going against our defense,” Swinney said. “But I love what I see in those three new guys that are here. They’re exactly what we hoped they’d be. They’ve got a little more to learn, but just watching them in a couple of our competitive drills, pretty impressed with them.”
The list of other early enrollees getting their first taste of practice with the Tigers includes quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, wide receiver E.J. Williams, tight end Sage Ennis, defensive linemen Bryan Bresee, Demonte Capehart and Myles Murphy, linebackers Sergio Allen, Trenton Simpson and Kevin Swint, safeties R.J. Mickens and Tyler Venables, and cornerback Fred Davis.
Swinney believed going into spring practice that his program signed a special 2020 recruiting class, and seeing the aforementioned players on the field over the first few days of spring ball has only reaffirmed what he felt about them coming in.
“I think we’ve got a good group,” he said. “Those D-linemen, I mean, you can’t help but notice them. Fred out there at corner is a great-looking athlete. E.J., he’s smooth as silk. He’s got to get bigger and stronger and all that, which we all know, and he’s got a lot to learn. D.J. … All those guys, man. We knocked it out of the park with that whole group. Sage Ennis, man, he is physical and he’s got a mentality that you love. He really jumped out at me (Monday) watching him in the drill work. But Cape and Bresee and Myles Murphy, you can’t help but notice them. Those three linebackers, you can’t help but notice them. Tyler Venables, Mickens, you just notice them.”
The early enrollees still have a lot of learning and developing to do, but Swinney sees a bright future ahead for the gifted youngsters.
“It’s just a good-looking young group of talent that just got here that I think we hit on all of them,” he said. “They’ve all got a ways to go to be functional players, but we’re off to a good start with that group.”
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