Saturday's 41-0 victory over the Wolfpack of NC State was complete domination on both sides of the ball. This was exactly what we have been wanting to see from Clemson - an offense that can put up points along with a smothering defense. Some players really stepped it up, so here are a few grades on some of the key players and positions from a beautiful Saturday in Tiger Town.
Mike Williams, WR, Sophomore, A+: Williams has drawn some comparison to Deandre Hopkins, and honestly after Saturday, if you didn't buy into that before, you have to believe it now. While I think the comparisons to Nuk are pretty spot on, he also reminds me, physically, of Martavis Bryant. I think we're seeing something like what Martavis could have been had he not been in an offense with two of the best receivers to ever play college football. The Nuk comparisons, though, are justified with his incredible catching ability. The extension he made to snag that second touchdown in the first quarter was phenomenal. Along with the 2 touchdowns, he had 155 yards on 6 catches Saturday, which happened to be his 20th birthday. If he keeps performing like he has been this year, he'll have NFL scouts calling his name after next season. It's safe to say that Mike definitely had a happy birthday
Wayne Gallman, RB, Freshman, B: Gallman had a solid day in his first start. He ran 13 times for 58 yards. His numbers aren't gaudy because he split time with Adam Choice, who ran 9 times for 56 yards. Both backs created a nice combo for the Tigers. Gallman looks like he can be a consistent back for the Tigers, and did what he was asked to do on Saturday. He is listed as the starter vs. Louisville.
Offensive Line, A-: This grade may seem a little high, but given how the OL has performed this season, I think they played their best game Saturday. Clemson ran for 226 yards, with Deshaun Watson leading all rushers with 62 yards. Watson was also able to throw for 267 yards behind their protection. This main problem was that they did give up 2 sacks to NC State, which needs to be worked on. Other than that, they looked solid Saturday. It will be interesting to see how injuries continue to affect this group. Joe Gore missed Saturday and is still recovering. Backup center Jay Guillermo suffered a broken foot and should be out 4-5 weeks. This means that Reid Webster is the back up center, so if he were to be called to move over for Ryan Norton, there would need to be someone to step up to take his spot at right guard. Tyrone Crowder is a possible choice. He received some playing time at the spot Saturday, so his performance in any playing time he gets will be worth watching.
Vic Beasley, DE, Senior, B-: Vic didn't play bad, but also didn't have a very attention grabbing performance, save for his touchdown. He only recorded one tackle on the day, and that was his "sack" of Jacoby Brissett where he stripped the ball from him and ran it back 16 yards for a touchdown. It showed a great deal of athletic ability, and definitely gave Vic a highlight play on a day where he wasn't heard from much. That sack did, however, tie him with the late Gaines Adams and Michael Dean Perry for first on the all time Clemson sack list, with 28 sacks. Tying the record while scoring a touchdown in front of the home crowd definitely had to be a special moment for Vic.
Grady Jarrett, DT, Senior, A+: Jarrett continues to be a force up the middle. He racked up 7 tackles and had a fumble recovery. The Tiger D gave up 159 yards in total to the Wolfpack offense, and only allowed 4 yards in the first quarter. Jarrett was a huge key to that success. He even had a tackle where he ran down Brissett near the sideline.
Linebackers, A: It was awesome to see so many of our LB's not only work in but make plays. Stephone Anthony had his usual good game, posting 7 tackles, a half a sack, and 2 pass break ups. Kellen Jones also got in the action, and was all over the field. He was involved in 6 tackles on the day, and forced a fumble that was taken by fellow LB B.J. Goodson for 24 yards. Dorian O'Daniel also got in the action, making 3 tackles.
Bradley Pinion, P/K, Junior A+: I'm mainly giving this grade to Pinion based off of his kickoff performance alone. His punting was great, don't get me wrong, but the fact that he sent all 8 kickoffs through the back of the end zone for touchbacks was huge. Not allowing a kick return is a huge part in winning the field position battle, which Clemson did on Saturday. As for punting, Pinion had a solid day with 3 punts for 113 yards. Also huge in the field position battle.