Apologies for the lateness...wife went into labor early (our third) and now we have our first baby girl (so now even if the rest of the article is awful--you still have to be nice to me!!).
CB Kaleb Chalmers (5'11 180) from Greenwood, SC committed to Clemson during the spring game. There is a lot to like about Kaleb Chalmers. First he comes from Greenwood where Clemson has historically performed poorly with area recruits. Lots of talent goes through that school and it would be nice for Clemson to be competitive for some of those players.
Chalmers as a player has a high ceiling but right now is not a polished product. He jumped onto recruiting radars with some spectacular plays as a sophomore where you could see early on the ball skills and athleticism--the ability to make a big play. His junior campaign didn't show the consistency needed to vault him into the upper echelon of CB prospects but you can still see that potential. He is not a polished player at all and will need a redshirt year to polish his craft and fill out his frame. Right now he is not a great tackler and struggles a bit in run support.
I don't mean to sound like I am down on Kaleb though at all. He does have great length and top-end speed. He has that build that you really want with modern DB's--long arms and a good frame. He has great hands and ball skills coupled with good change of direction and some fluid hips. This is a big point of emphasis for the Venables era of DB recruits (it should have always been a point of emphasis). I think he will stick at CB but also has the frame to play some Nickel as well. Bottomline there is a whole lot of natural talent to like especially with a DB coach like Coach Reed.
We do have a few higher rated guys still on the CB board but we decided to go with the local guy who we knew we could grab rather than wait on those guys who we don't lead for and are slipping with some of them.
Now some self indulgence. Dr. B gave you the real Spring Game analysis but I wanted to chime in with some observations in a slightly different format highlighting specific players (again with the caveat that the spring game is meaningless) with Winners and Losers.
Deshaun Watson. I went back and watched the game three times now. Chad Kelly definitely hurt himself with his antics and embarrassing himself the entire 3rd and 4th quarter trying to get back in the game. Kelly is all about his running ability and actually had a nice sequence in the 2nd quarter where he looked much better as a passer but got to agree with Dr. B. that Cole looked like the experienced vet. He has put on some good weight and knows the offense and where all the check downs are.
But after watching the game I think you really see the ceiling of Stoudt. His arm just isn't elite and multiple times he let the ball float a bit too much. He also threw some bad balls that you just don't want to see--he is a veteran guy but he is still going to make rookie mistakes in real games this season. Watson needs to fill out his frame but The Chad knows he personally isn't sticking around too much longer and I can see a scenario where Watson has shown enough in camp and Chad gets an itchy trigger finger (Dabo loves vets but also loves his recruiting gems). Could they possibly go ahead and make him a co-starter type of deal or just not settle anything going in to the GA game? I think Kelly just cracked that door open. Is Cole going to transfer in the beginning of his senior year--I doubt it and the coaches know that. Certainly Cole is the favorite to win the job but based on positive camp reports about Watson, I think the smallest of chances exists.
'The Swag' Kelly
Wayne Gallman--positions himself to be the number one guy if he can put on a few more pounds in the offseason. Showed he can block in the backfield. Caught the ball beautifully--that was really impressive and surprising.
Kurt Fleming for showing he could be a player in the future or in short yardage. Even showed a burst on that 49 yard run.
Davidson continued to show that elite burst and Artavis Scott also looked great on that jet sweep--great balance.
Zac Brooks looks like he is still at about 190 lbs. Time to start thinking about getting creative with his position--hybrid WR/RB??
Jordan Leggett--Clearly looks like the starter and has started to cast off those lazy descriptions of his game. I think he is beginning to separate himself from the other TE's (granted we haven't seen Sam Cooper) and made some great runs after the catch in the game. Blocking looks improved. McCullough also seems to be progressing and putting things together.
Clemson for recruiting Greenlee
Seckinger for looking like he has gained no weight since last year
Tyrone Crowder looked impressive at times during the game--putting some DLineman on the ground. He needs to improve his conditioning for sure but I think he has a chance to crack the 2-deep.
Everybody attempting to play RT or high-fiving Vic Beasley on his way to the QB.
Shaq Anthony for being replaced by Jerome Maybank--that has got to be a career low.
David Beasley for looking like he weighs 340+ pounds. This one just ticks me off--he looked so much better at the beginning of his sophomore year and he plays awful at 340. He needs to be at least 320 for his feet to be good enough to pull and could be really good at 310-315. Sigh.
Scott Pagano has been getting great reviews during camp and throughout his RS year--you can see the talent on the field.
Has Tavaris Barnes seen the light? He looks in great shape and coming off the ball so much better than anytime he has been here at Clemson. Focused and making plays--if this is true our D-line will be deep and nasty with a legit 4 man rotation at the DE spots.
Grady Jarrett may be the best player on our defense (of course he and Beastly) but I liked what I saw out of DeShawn Williams who has put in extra work this offseason. He looks much quicker and powerful off the ball and has reshaped his body.
Nobody really but I always get worried seeing guys like Shaq Lawson look a tiny bit overweight. We need Lawson to stay at 275 not just for this year but for the rest of his career. We don't need DE's growing into 3-tech guys.
Me. I don't always toot my own horn but when I do, it's about Mack Alexander. Last year I had him ranked number 2 on my recruit rankings after fall camp despite his being injured and I kept saying he is elite and would have made the 2-deep straight out of camp. Well this year he is going to start and he is going to be so much better than anyone we have had for awhile. Alexander does advanced things like funnel WR's into poor position on the field and bait QB's into bad throws. Ah, Breeland why did you go...
Cordrea Tankersly--Tank has really shown that he could play in the 2 deep this year. He had a couple of really nice defensive plays against Humphries where he stayed in good defensive position.
Not sure there were any real big losers here. TJ Green showed he can play Safety and looked remarkably good for playing the position for such a short time, but he needs to learn to tackle better. Kearse had some nice plays and was a bit out of position on some others. I'm stretching.
Chris Register for looking like a MLB already.
Ben Boulware, a winner for getting away with the cheap shot on Kelly
Danny Pearman for not changing a thing (except finally perfecting his short iron game) on special teams and making it so that Clemson never returns a punt and never blocks anyone on punt returns. Bravo sir. Bravo.