Tony Elliott has plenty of talent to work with after making the transition from Clemson’s running backs coach to become the Tigers’ new tight ends coach, in addition to his duties as offensive coordinator.
One tight end who has quickly made a profound impression on his new position coach during spring practice is freshman Jake Briningstool, a former four-star prospect ranked as the nation’s No. 1 tight end in the 2021 recruiting class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Elliott is pleased with how Briningstool has picked up the offense early in the spring after arriving on campus in January as a midyear enrollee.
“I’ve been thoroughly impressed just with his ability to catch on,” Elliott said after practice on Wednesday. “Obviously, things are still spinning around in his head. We’re five days in, still going with the install. But just his ability to comprehend and make the adjustments … And again, he’s going to mess up his handful of plays. But really been impressed with his football knowledge.”
Briningstool has a strong foundation as a receiving tight end coming out of Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn., where he tallied 111 catches for 1,955 yards and 22 touchdowns as a three-year starter.
“He’s coming in with a great base, especially from a wide receiver perspective,” Elliott said. “He has a natural feel for running routes. He’s got great ball skills.”
Along with Briningstool’s skills as a pass catcher, Elliott loves the effort the 6-foot-6, 216-pounder has put forth as a blocker and is excited to see what he can develop into with the help of Clemson’s strength and conditioning program.
“The thing that’s really impressed me is even though he’s only 216 pounds, he’s not afraid to put his face in the fan and he’s going to give everything that he has,” Elliott said. “He’s as physical as he can be with his length and with his size, and as we get him in the weight room and grow him up a little bit more, I think we found something special in Jake.”
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