Clemson will conclude the spring season Saturday at Death Valley when it hosts its Orange & White Spring Game.
The game is set to kick off at 1 p.m. and will be televised by the ACC Network.
Star Gazing. Clemson had 12 members of its 2021 Class enroll in January so they could participate in spring practice. And though we will not mention all 12 of the freshmen on campus in this article, we will highlight those top players you might want to be looking out for.
Running back Will Shipley will be wearing No. 1 for the Orange Team on Saturday. The former 5-star recruit had a stellar spring and head coach Dabo Swinney said he is ahead of where most freshmen running backs are coming into college because he played in a similar offensive system in high school.
Wide receiver Beaux Collins will be wearing No. 80 for the Orange. The top 100 recruit has been one of the talks of spring practice, along with fellow freshman Dacari Collins.
The White Team will also have freshman tight end Jake Briningstool. He will be wearing No. 9 for the White Team.
Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. will be wearing No. 54 for the Orange. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Swinney are both excited about what this freshman is capable of doing. Defensive tackle Payton Page is also playing for the Orange. He will be wearing No. 55.
Freshman Ryan Linthicum will be playing on the Orange Team and wearing No. 53. He also gets the privilege of going against 2020 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Bryan Bresee, who is playing for the White Team.
Running back battle. No position is more up in the air than at running back. Lyn-J Dixon, who is the favorite to win the job at the moment, is playing for the White Team, while Kobe Pace, who is now wearing No. 20, is coming on strong. Pace will be running the ball for the Orange Team. Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and Swinney have all raved about the kind of spring Pace has had to this point. This will be a battle that will be fun to watch on Saturday.
Also, let’s not forget about Chez Mellusi and freshman Phil Mafah, who is wearing No. 26 for the White. Like Shipley, Mafah had a good first spring and the coaches are really impressed with how he has competed to this point.
How much better is the offensive line? Matt Bockhorst has practiced but has not done any live work this spring due to post-season surgery. That has allowed other linemen did get in first-team reps, which Swinney believes is paying off for guys like Paul Tchio, Mason Trotter and Hunter Rayburn among others.
Rayburn has emerged as the leader to win the starting job at center, while it appears Jordan McFadden has a slight edge on Walker Parks right now to be the starting left tackle. However, Parks will be the starter at right tackle this coming season if things stay the same.
Who is right? Swinney was very critical of the secondary after last week’s scrimmage. He did not think they played well. Venables, on the other hand, says the secondary has been much improved this spring. Who is right? I guess we will find out on Saturday.