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Clemson Fall Camp: Scrimmage Notes

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It was IPTAY Day in Clemson so I was able to watch most of today’s scrimmage in the South Club before heading inside to hear from Dan Radakovich, Coach Scott, and a few IPTAY bigwigs. Quick notes and observations by position, some more detailed than others due to relevancy:

Quarterback

Deshaun Watson is kinda good. No news there. Nick Schuessler and Kelly Bryant each look improved. Bryant in particular seems to have made strides in the passing game; he Bryant looked better on the intermediate throws and threw a perfect bomb to Ray-Ray McCloud for a touchdown over Mark Fields.

Running Back

Adam Choice is the clear #2 behind Wayne Gallman. While never a blazer, he seems quicker than I remember from 2014 and runs just as hard. He had a long TD run on 3rd & short late in the scrimmage. The real battle is for the #3 RB spot between Tyshon Dye, CJ Fuller, and Tavien Feaster. Feaster didn’t get as many reps as the other two but looked like the best of the trio — certainly the one with the most potential and most unique skill set.

Wide Receiver

Watson threw deep to Mike Williams on the first play and of course he made an acrobatic, Nuk-esque catch over Fields. Hunter Renfrow was out but all other members of the 2 deep looked very good. Coach Scott said afterwards that he feels he has 6 starters; his deepest receiver group in his time at Clemson. Obviously this says a lot. Cornell Powell will play this year. He and Feaster will likely return kickoffs and Powell will work his way into the receiver rotation.

Offensive Line

The line looked good as a whole. John Simpson is physically ready to play this year, but with decent depth on the interior line he may be held for a redshirt. Will be determined in these next two weeks.

Defensive Line

Right now Clemson only has 4 ends to trot out on the field, not counting Christian Wilkins. Clelin Ferrell looks the best of the bunch and has locked up the weakside role. We know what we have inside and Dexter Lawrence only makes a great unit even better.

Linebacker

Clemson employed the 4-3 throughout the entire scrimmage up until situational drills. Dorian O’Daniel and Jalen Williams logged all the SAM snaps with the 1s and 2s, respectively. I did not pay close attention to Kendall Joseph or Ben Boulware since they are entrenched, but Tre Lamar is the real deal. Shaq Smith let Kelly Bryant elude him but is a terror on fire and bullet blitzes.

Secondary

Here’s where all the concerns lie: field corner. Mark Fields got the start without healthy corners Adrian Baker and Marcus Edmond, and was burned deep multiple times. Coach Scott said afterwards that they intentionally picked on Fields throughout the day, and of course these receivers will win against any DBs more often than not...but that doesn’t exactly alleviate my concerns. Trayvon Mullen looks impressive and just might get the nod over Fields based on what I saw today.

Korrin Wiggins played strong safety with the 2s, wearing a heavy brace on the left knee. As for the starting safeties, Jadar Johnson can lay the wood and Van Smith is up to a good weight. I am far less concerned with those two than I was in the spring. Tanner Muse also looked improved from the spring as the 2nd string free safety. Without many nickel or dime looks in the scrimmage today, it is difficult to say who will emerge at nickel and box safety. Smart money is on K’Von Wallace at nickel, Isaiah Simmons at box safety. Look for Wallace to emerge as Wiggins did back in 2013 and log plenty of snaps vs spread offenses.