One area where Clemson could see marked improvement this year is at tight end, where the Tigers appear to be loaded with talent and potential.
Some of that potential was displayed in 2020, as Braden Galloway caught 27 passes for 369 yards and two scores, while Davis Allen hauled in 16 receptions for 247 yards and four touchdowns. Allen’s 15.4 yards per catch average ranked third on the team, while Galloway’s 13.7 was fourth.
Jaelyn Lay showed what he is capable of doing in the spring game, catching six passes for 39 yards, while the coaching staff is real high on redshirt freshman Sage Ennis and true freshman Jake Briningstool, one of the top tight ends in the country coming out of high school this year.
The position also has a new coach with offensive coordinator Tony Elliott moving in to replace longtime Dabo Swinney assistant Danny Pearman, who has moved into to his director of scouting role for Clemson Football.
“It has been fun because I know how to play receiver, so I kinda get back to my roots a little bit. The first five years of my career I coached receivers,” Elliott said this past spring. “So, now I get to look at the blocking aspect of the job.
“I always knew it was a very different position, but until you sit in that seat, it gives me a newfound respect for what Danny had to do in preparation for the things that I asked him to do. There is so much detail in that position.”
Elliott said his new position players responded well this past spring and that they gravitated to the receiver aspect of the position, which is more his expertise than the run blocking. Elliott played wide receiver for Clemson from 2000-’03 and was coached by Dabo Swinney in ’03 when Swinney was Tommy Bowden’s wide receivers coach.
“I am having fun getting in there with [offensive line coach] Robbie [Caldwell] and learning all the calls, the hand placements, angles with your steps, all of that kind of stuff. So, it has been a lot of fun,” Elliott said.
We will all see how much fun the Tigers can have at tight end soon enough. Clemson opens the season on Sept. 4 against Georgia at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
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