Clemson began its fall camp this week, and there were many new developments with the football team. Some key freshmen have started to stand out, and other players have surprised the coaches as well.
Wide Open at Running Back
While it’s expected that D.J. Howard is the slight favorite at running back, because of his experience, this position is still wide open.
OrangeAndWhite.com revealed Dabo Swinney’s thoughts on the position earlier this week.
(Zac) Brooks has had a good camp, (Wayne) Gallman has shown improvement and D.J. Howard has been the leader of the group. And it is amazing to have a player as talented as C.J. Davidson who basically walked in off the streets two years ago. Kurt Fleming is a different type of runner who will have a role for us.
The starter for the Georgia game is still a mystery at this point, as all the backs have provided a solid competition.
Ammon Lakip’s Leg Strength
Replacing a kicker as efficient as Chandler Catanzaro doesn’t figure to be an easy task, but Lakip appears ready for the challenge.
As Roy Philpott of CUTigers.com notes, his kick earlier in the week could have been made from 65 yards out.
Ammon Lakip banged home 55-yard field goal today in practice. Would have been good from 65, according to Dabo.— Roy Philpott (@RoyPhilpott) August 5, 2014
Work Hard, Play Hard
The biggest highlight of my week didn’t happen on the football field. One of the things trending around the Twitter world this week was Cole Stoudt’s mannequin prank, in which he was able to scare a few Tiger fans.
SportsCenter tweeted out the video for many to see this week.
New Clemson QB Cole Stoudt pulled a prank on his teammates and it's pretty awesome. VIDEO: http://t.co/CCXwtMJq2O— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 4, 2014
Jordan Leggett is Developing as More Than a Receiver
Leggett realizes that he has to be a better blocker to see significant snaps this season. Per Brandon Rink of OrangeAndWhite.com, the coaches have a message for the tight end: “They said if I wanted to get on the field and be a more complete player and play 50 snaps a game – I had to be a route runner (and) a blocker," said Leggett.
With the recent injury to Stanton Seckinger, Leggett will have an opportunity to really show off in camp. Sam Cooper is the best blocking tight end on the team and will get significant playing time because of what he provides in the running game, but Leggett could be one of Stoudt’s main targets.
Carlos Being Carlos
Carlos Watkins missed a lot of time last season after being involved in a car accident, which ultimately led to a redshirt. Swinney has confidence that Watkins could be a difference-maker on this brutal defensive line, per ClemsonTigers.com.
“Carlos is back to being Carlos. He had a great camp last year and started against Georgia in the opener. He looks great. He is going to benefit by redshirting last season,” Swinney said.
He isn’t a guy who is going to play a huge role but can certainly provide even more depth on an already talented defensive front.
Progression of Freshmen
This freshman class has many Clemson fans excited, and rightfully so. Deshaun Watson, the headliner of the signing class, has not disappointed so far.
A few other freshmen who have stood out this week are Adam Choice, Artavis Scott, Trevion Thompson and Mackensie Alexander, among others.
The first week of practice will conclude Saturday with a scrimmage, then its off to another week of getting prepared for the season. As the intensity of these practices rises, so should the pressure for guys to step up and win these position battles.