Scrimmage Notebook: Freshmen running backs are making noise

Scrimmage Notebook: Freshmen running backs are making noise

Football

Scrimmage Notebook: Freshmen running backs are making noise

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media following Wednesday’s first scrimmage of the spring at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Swinney discussed a lot of topics in his 24-minute conversation, including what lies ahead for seven of his former players who will participate today in Clemson’s annual Pro Day at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson.

Former running back Travis Etienne, along with wide receivers Cornell Powell and Amari Rodgers, tight end J.C. Chalk and offensive linemen Jackson Carmen, will be working out for 29 NFL teams who are expected to be in Clemson this morning. Former running back Adam Choice and wide receiver Diondre Overton will also be participating in the event, which kicks off at 10 a.m. It will be televised on the ACC Network.

Here are some other news and notes following Wednesday’s scrimmage.

Swinney on Pro Day. “This is a big day for those guys. I got a chance to see them on our little tombstone deal today. I got to see a bunch of those guys come back for that. It is exciting. I think Woody (McCorvey) said 29 teams of the 32 are going to be here. A lot of eyes. This is a big day for those young men to have a chance to go chase their dream and compete against the best of the best out there in this game. I am excited about watching their opportunity. We don’t have many guys in the draft. I think we have five that our going and all five will get drafted and have an opportunity to chase their dream. I think they are all well prepared to be very good players at the next level.”

He is back. Backup quarterback Taisun Phommachanh is back at practice after missing time this spring because of being in protocol. Though he was back, Swinney said Phommachanh did not participate in the scrimmage.

On freshmen running backs Will Shipley and Phil Mafah. “They are both natural players. They were both incredibly well coached in high school. They are coming from systems where they were asked to do similar things. So, I am really excited about both of those guys. They are way ahead of the curve. Just like those two freshmen receivers, they are way ahead of the curve from where a high school senior will typically be coming in here. They are not overwhelmed. It is not too big for them.”

On the rest of the running back competition. “Kobe [Pace] has had a great spring. He has had a great nine days. I really like what I have seen out of Lyn-J. He has a fire under his rear. And I love it. There is a difference in running to a fire and running to get out of one. I like where he is at. He is highly motivated. He is playing very well for us. C.J. [Spiller] is doing an awesome job. I love how he is managing those guys. They are all in it. They are all competing. Chez [Mellusi] had a great day today. This was his first day to really scrimmage. I thought he really bounced back because he missed a few practices. [Michel] Dukes missed a few practices. Both of them had gotten hurt, missed some practices, now they are back. Dukes did some things. It is one of the really most competitive spots on our team. Kobe has been outstanding and [Darien] Rencher, we don’t ever talk about Rencher, but every time we put him in there, he does his job and makes a play.”

On Xavier Thomas. “He has been consistent. He was consistently inconsistent last year. For all kind of reasons. The biggest thing was just probably his availability. He has been here every day. He has been very consistent. That is all we need. I am excited for him to hopefully finish up strong and really be able to have the type of off-season that he needs to have and wants to have. If he does that, then that is going to be good news for Clemson.”

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