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2016 Clemson Football TE Participation

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

As is tradition at STS, we are once again taking a look at the participation numbers for each player at Clemson during the 2016 season. While number of games played is a nice top level number, looking at snap counts provides a much better idea of how much experience a player is getting. It is also a good way of determining if a player should have redshirted or not. Ideally, a player should get at least 100 snaps in a season as a freshman, otherwise a redshirt would have been a better idea barring issues with depth. Also note that all snap counts are through the Ohio State game; totals for the Alabama game have not been published by Clemson.

The tight end position has been a critical weapon in the offense for the past 6 years. When Chad Morris arrived at Clemson he mentioned that it may be the most important position in his offense. We’ve seen that time and time again. When Clemson has a threat at TE the offense becomes much more dynamic. There is a threat over the middle of the field as well as an extra blocker that provides a net positive to the team, something the OL doesn’t always do.

This year was no exception and we say Jordan Leggett take that next step and become the TE we’ve all wanted in this offense. While yes, he may have had some ugly moments, he also had some spectacular catches and critical moments for Clemson.

TE Snaps

Player Position Year Auburn Troy SC State Georgia Tech Louisville Boston College NC State FSU Syracuse Pittsburgh Wake Forest South Carolina Virginia Tech Ohio State Totals
Player Position Year Auburn Troy SC State Georgia Tech Louisville Boston College NC State FSU Syracuse Pittsburgh Wake Forest South Carolina Virginia Tech Ohio State Totals
Jordan Leggett TE Senior 74 57 21 63 61 41 87 78 42 80 60 52 76 63 855
Milan Richard TE R Sophomore 8 25 12 12 5 11 6 6 16 11 7 10 4 9 142
Garrett Williams TE Sophomore 12 11 9 14 4 12 9 5 17 9 10 14 7 9 142
Cannon Smith TE R Sophomore 0 1 12 0 0 6 0 1 5 1 3 5 0 4 38
D.J. Greenlee TE R Junior 0 1 15 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 25
Grant Radakovich TE R Graduate 0 0 7 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 2 0 2 15
Jesse Fisher TE R Freshman 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 10
Shadell Bell TE R Freshman 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 7

So there are two obvious takeaways from this chart. The first is that we have a lot of tight ends on the roster. Even once we remove the walk on guys Clemson still has 5 scholarship tight ends with experience. Oh and J.C. Chalk will be coming off of his redshirt for 2017. Really we could lose 2 tight ends and be perfectly fine. Clemson rarely runs a 2 tight end set and with the snap breakdown the starter is in the game for a large majority of the snaps.

But looking at 2017, the big question is going to be who wins the starting job. We’ve been high on Garrett Williams since he arrived at Clemson, and his ability to avoid a redshirt and share the same number of snaps as Milan Richard is promising. This competition is going to go through fall camp and will likely come down to the better blocker. Both have an ability to catch the ball, but blocking is going to be critical since Clemson has to break in a new QB. And don’t forget Cannon Smith. He’s been doing well in spring ball and could be a viable option.

There are a lot of snaps to replace in 2017, and don’t be surprised if we see a more even spread of snaps among 2-3 tight ends in 2017. Unless one of the three guys can really separate themselves it seems likely the staff will use each TE in an appropriate situational role. Or just give it to the most experienced guy.