During Wednesday’s Prowl & Growl event in Greenwood, S.C., Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked if the Tigers are still looking for an offensive lineman in the transfer portal.
“At this point, there’s really nobody that really fits what we need,” Swinney said. “There’s a lot of guys, a lot of names, but we’re not just looking for a name. We had two guys that we felt like fit everything we were looking for, and we offered two guys and didn’t get them. But yeah, there’s really not anybody out there that would help us at this point, than what we need. So, we don’t want to just take a guy to take a guy. That doesn’t really help anybody.”
The good news, Swinney said, is the Tigers “feel really confident about the 14 guys that we have, the depth that we’re going to have” on the offensive line this season.
Added Swinney: “We’ve got five freshmen that we are really, really excited about in (redshirt freshmen) Tristan (Leigh) and Ryan Linthicum, and Dietrick Pennington we think could have been a starter for us last year. Getting him back (from a season-ending knee injury), he looks great. And then those two (true) freshmen, Blake (Miller) and Collin (Sadler), coming in in January – they’re rare guys. It’s not often that you sign guys like that in the offensive line that are physically and mentally prepared, and strength wise. So, we love that group.”
“We’ve got five sophomores – one true sophomore in Marcus Tate, and four redshirt sophomores, guys in that third year that we feel all made that step that we needed to see this spring – and you’ve got three juniors in (Will) Putnam and (Walker) Parks and Mason (Trotter), and you’ve got one senior (Jordan McFadden),” Swinney continued. “So, we like our group.”
Swinney added that if Clemson had brought in an offensive lineman via the transfer portal, it would have been a veteran with plenty of playing experience.
“We didn’t really need another young guy,” he said. “If we were going to get a guy, it was going to be a veteran, older guy that had a lot of experience. There’s some older guys in there that hadn’t played anywhere. That’s really not what we’re looking for.”
Swinney went on to say that he thinks Clemson’s offensive line is the position group that will pleasantly surprise people this season, even though the unit caught a lot of flak for its performance last season.
“I think that group is going to do very well for us, if we can stay healthy,” Swinney said. “Fortunately this year, we’ve got a little more room for some error from a functional depth standpoint. We really didn’t last year, and it was a disaster. I think we’ll have more functional players … I love the group we have. A lot of negativity around that group last year – some rightfully so, but a lot of it not. But I think that’s the group that I believe is going to play very well for Clemson.”