Tight end position could finally be Clemson’s secret weapon, again

Tight end position could finally be Clemson’s secret weapon, again

Football

Tight end position could finally be Clemson’s secret weapon, again

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A look at Clemson’s 2021 projected TE depth chart heading into fall camp

It will be interesting to see how well Clemson progresses at the tight end position now that offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is the position coach.

A former receiver, Elliott will bring a different dynamic to a unit that did show vast improvement in 2020. Can the Tigers’ get back to where it was when Jordan Leggett was hauling in 40-plus receptions for 700 yards during their run to a national championship in 2016?

There is a chance.

Braden Galloway and Davis Allen made huge strides last year. Galloway caught 27 passes for 369 yards and two scores, while Allen collected four touchdowns on 16 receptions for 247 yards. If they continue to progress the way they did last year and pickup more tricks of the trade from Elliott, it is easy to assume both tight ends could become a big part of the Clemson offense this fall.

Also, Jaelyn Lay made tremendous improvements in the spring, as it appears the lightbulb has finally turned on for him. Then there is redshirt freshman Sage Ennis, who the coaching staff really likes, and true freshman Jake Briningstool is an up-and-comer who has the talent and skill set to be really special.

Braden Galloway, Sr., 6-4, 240: Galloway has 34 catches in his career for 481 yards and three touchdowns. He has played in 26 games thus far, including starting every game in 2020. The Seneca High School product possesses the ability to be as good as any tight end in the country. He is athletic, long and fast. He runs exceptional routes and has really improved as a blocker in both the running game and in pass protection. Last year, Galloway caught 27 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns. He earned All-ACC Academic honors, as well.

Davis Allen, Jr., 6-6, 250: Allen is a reliable receiver and physical blocker who enters 2021 with 21 career catches for 300 yards and four touchdowns, while playing in 27 games. He has one start to his credit. He recorded 247 yards and four touchdowns on 16 receptions in 12 games last season, becoming the sixth Clemson tight end under Dabo Swinney to catch four or more touchdowns in a season, joining Michael Palmer (four in 2009), Dwayne Allen (eight in 2011), Brandon Ford (eight in 2012), Stanton Seckinger (four in 2013) and Jordan Leggett (eight in 2015 and seven in 2016).

Jaelyn Lay, *So., 6-6, 270: Lay was used mostly as a blocking tight end when he played, though he played in all 12 games in 2020. In his 16 career games, he has caught two passes and coincidentally both came against Georgia Tech. The first was a 20-yard gain in his college debut in the season opener of 2019, while he had a 5-yard catch against the Yellow Jackets last year. He had a very productive spring and closed it out by leading all tight ends with six catches for 39 yards. His six catches matched a game-high for all pass catchers.

Sage Ennis, *Fr., 6-4, 235: Played in just four games last season, in large part due to injury. A hybrid tight end, Ennis is both a physical blocker and a receiving threat with good hands and route-running ability that can be a mismatch against linebackers and safeties. He has the versatility to line up attached to the tackle on the line of scrimmage or split out wide. Ennis’s big body and ability to high point the football and grab contested catches should make him a desirable target in the red zone.

Jake Briningstool, Fr., 6-6, 220: Selected for the Under Armour All-America Game. He had 39 receptions for 774 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior in 2020. Briningstool is an attractive target as a receiving tight end and has a wide catch radius and dependable hands to help him bring balls in. He fits the mold of a Jordan Leggett, and the Tigers hope he will develop into that type of playmaker in the passing game. Briningstool has also drawn comparisons to former Clemson tight end Brandon Ford, who was a first-team All-ACC performer in 2012, because of their similar length and catch radius.

Note: *redshirt

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