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Clemson at Louisville Review: Player Grades

Clemson survived a heated Thursday night game in Louisville. Here's how different players performed and impacted the game.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson, QB, Sophomore, C: A rare off day for Watson. Of course, if your "off days" still include throwing for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns for a win, you're doing something right overall. Tossing two interceptions killed some drives that could've helped Clemson establish some momentum. Watson was the victim of one of worst non-Ron Cherry ACC ref jobs in recent history. While the replay showed that he was just barely shy of getting the game clinching first down, the fact that the clear personal foul face mask occurred and was not flagged was just atrocious. Fortunately, we're now playing at the level as a team where we can overcome those bad calls, instead of that being the reason for a loss.

Hunter Renfrow, WR, RS Freshman, A: Only one catch on the game, but, oh boy, was it huge. A 32-yard touchdown from the former walk-on put Clemson up early. I like what I've seen from this kid, and I feel like his number is going to get called a lot more as the season goes on. While position wise he's getting the obvious comparisons to Adam Humphries and Tyler Grisham, I also like to think of him in comparison to Bowden-era tight end Thomas Hunter. Hunter was a walk on originally, and by the time his time in Tiger Town was up, he had became a reliable target for Charlie Whitehurst and Will Proctor. I look forward to watching Renfrow progress.

Jordan Leggett, TE, Junior, A: A player that has faced some criticism during his time in Clemson while showing some flashes of brilliance came up big for the Tigers. His third quarter touchdown put Clemson up 17-10 on the Cards. He also had 2 other catches for a total of 42 yards, but one of the biggest things that stood out to me was that he was open and in position to make the game clinching catch on Clemson's final drive. Unfortunately, the pass came up short, but I like the way Leggett got open frequently on Thursday night.


Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Junior, A+: Tankersley Island was in full effect Thursday night. Cordrea had a huge interception to stop a potential Louisville scoring drive and looked great all night. He had a huge athletic play, catching up to a Louisville receiver who had a few steps on him and leaping up to swat down a pass. His play definitely helped the Tigers get the win.

Kevin Dodd, DE, RS Junior, A: Dodd and the DL played well against the Cards, especially toward the end when big plays were needed. On Louisville's last drive, Dodd grabbed the Louisville QB and forced him to the ground before he could get a pass off. The sack kept the clock running and forced Louisville to go for one long pass, which was intercepted by Jadar Johnson.

Special Teams

Greg Huegel, K, Freshman, A: Two field goals and solid distance on his kickoffs for the freshman. I'm starting to trust him more as a kicker, but I am still not convinced that Ammon Lakip doesn't get the start vs Notre Dame. That'll be something to watch over the next 2 weeks.

Kickoff Team, D-: Bad. Throughout the night, Louisville was consistently returning the ball to the 20, which I feel like is not bad for us. However, what tipped this from being an average performance to being bad was the 100 yard kickoff return by Traveon Samuel in the 4th quarter which put Louisville within three. Breaking that game open to a 10 point lead was huge for momentum, but then all the momentum was back on the Card's bench after one play. This has to be corrected before Notre Dame comes to town.