The boys were back in town Friday and all eyes were on the freshmen as usual. Some were practicing for the first time as a Tiger and some were showing the improvements they have made since the spring.
Thanks to a last minute decision from coach Swinney the media in attendance was allowed to watch the entire practice, which is very unusual at Clemson.
Here are some observations about the great freshmen from the first day of camp.
- Will Shipley showed off his speed a number of times. On one play he broke open and looked like he might take it to the house but someone punched the ball out of his hands. Shipley also appeared to near the top of the depth chart already in the punt return drills.
- Payton Page was in a green jersey Friday afternoon. Page had really transformed his body from when we saw him several times at Dudley High School in Greensboro.
- Will Taylor practiced for the first time as a Tiger. Will worked exclusively at quarterback. Brandon Streeter game him plenty of coaching and was heard praising him on one of the pass completions.
- Barrett Carter was working out at linebacker in his first day. In one drill he made a one handed catch that looked similar to a Sammy Watkins special. That play drew some praise from his teammates.
- One summer arrival really caught my eye on Friday. Receiver Troy Stellato showed that he will fit in just fine at WRU. One one play Stellato made a good move on Nolan Turner and then went on to make a great catch.
- We were able to confirm with our own eyes what Swinney said about freshman offensive lineman Tristan Leigh. In his first practice it was easy to tell that Leigh is physically ready to play for the Tigers. He will just need to learn the offense and then he will be ready to contribute. Tristan is a great addition to the o-line.
- Beaux Collins was wearing a green jersey on Friday so he did not participate in some of the drills. At one point we also saw them icing one of his shoulders.
- Decari Collins looked improved from what we saw in the spring. His size is just what Clemson likes at receiver and he made several very nice catches across the middle.
- Safety Andrew Mukuba got plenty of hype in the spring and he looked good out there in day one of camp. He has great range and just looks like he is ready to hit someone. Mukuba will provide more athleticism at safety.
- In any other season we might be looking for Denhoff to make a bigger impact. The Tigers are of course loaded at defensive end so he will be able to work on his body and come along slowly.
- Zaire Patterson is another freshman that passes the ‘get off the bus test’. He looks physically ready to play. Similar to Denhoff he will be able to take his time, learn the system and take advantage of his opportunities.
- Billy Wiles was impressive out there for the first day. On many of the drills they were running Wiles out with the third team behind Helms and Uiagalelei.
- Ryan Linthicum is ready to win the hair game already. Linthicum brings some energy to the center position. With Rayburn coming on strong this spring Ryan will be able to learn the offense and take advantage of his opportunities this season. We expect him to be a very good one before he leaves Clemson.