In the NFL, coaches will allow certain veteran players to sit out mini-camps and other organized team activities during the off-season.
It is a reward for their leadership and experience through the years, but it is also to help their older bodies rest and recover from a grueling season the year before.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney took a page out of the NFL coaches’ playbook during the Tigers’ mat drills this last month. He allowed his six-year players—linebacker James Skalski, safety Nolan Turner, running back Darien Rencher, defensive end Regan Upshaw and punter Will Spiers—to sit out mat drills and instead help coach.
“I never had six-year guys before, so this year I decided to let the six-year guys just coach the mat drills,” Swinney said in a short video from Clemson Football’s social media platforms. “They have been through five years already and they did a great job. Good intensity. I think we definitely have a group of coaches in that group of six-year guys that we got coming back.”
The NCAA’s Division I Council voted to give eligibility relief to student-athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Athletes now have the opportunity to play five seasons within a six-year span rather than the typical four seasons in five years.
Clemson, which finished last season with a 10-2 record and No. 3 ranking in the Final Associated Press rankings, will begin Spring practices next Wednesday in Clemson. The Tigers are expecting to return 11 players on defense that started at least three games last year and six players on offense that have started more than three games in their careers.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) February 17, 2021
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