Star Players of the Week
In the aftermath of a giant-slated week one, this past Saturday proved to be another gem in the world of college football. Ohio State lost, several other top 10 schools including Notre Dame and Texas A&M looked anything but top 10, and Clemson returned to its normal ways.
Well, kind of.
The Tigers with all their supposed glory seem to be lacking at a few positions, including that of quarterback. D.J. Uiagalelei is starting to scare some folks such as myself into worrying about the future for the Clemson offense. The chemistry, cooperation and coordination fails to be on par with his performances from last season.
However, there were a few standouts again this week. A few guys — including that of a pair of freshmen — stepped up big time.
Clemson Offense: RB Will Shipley
Again, if not made clear, Clemson’s signal caller didn’t look good. The overthrows, interception, etc... weren’t written in the chalk for Saturday’s matchup.
Fortunately, the rest of the offense gave Tiger fans a bit of elation. Will Shipley, who qualified as a five-star recruit and second highest rated running back in the 2021 CFB recruiting class, led his team in both carries and total yardage. The 5-foot-11 freshman totaled eight touches for 80 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. He’s still got a long way to go before contributes in making up for the gap left at the position this year, but a positive sign of things to come nonetheless.
Clemson Defense: LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr.
For the second straight week in a row, Clemson held their opponent to a field goal on offense. The Tigers D — even if it was against South Carolina State — looks immovable in nearly all faucets.
Veterans? Check. Younger guys stepping up? Check. Chemistry? Check
Jeremiah Trotter receives the nod today due to a team high five tackles and one sack. The freshman linebacker’s performance on Saturday qualified as the first of his collegiate career. He hails from Philadelphia and has deep experience when it comes to dominating. At least, that’s the story his ranking as a top five LB in the recruiting cycle of 2021 would say.
Clemson Special Teams: QB Will Taylor
I’ll give the fair props to B.T. Potter — he made seven PAT’s — but a missed field goal knocks him off the list.
The only guy who truly earned a chance at this award is Will Taylor, one of Clemson’s many listed backup quarterbacks. Taylor brought the ball out on punt returns three times, with one of them going for 51 yards. He also contributed offensively through five carries for 20 yards. The freshman from Dutch Fork, SC fumbled on two occasions, but both were picked back up by the Tigers.
South Carolina State Player of the Week: WR Will Vereen
Will Shipley. Will Taylor. Will Vereen.
There’s something about that first name this week. Vereen caps of the trios of Will’s to make today’s list with one of the few decent performances from his team. The senior wide receiver tallied four receptions for 96 yards, including a team-long 39-yarder and a catch that set up the Bulldogs for their only points of the match.
Admittedly, this week two edition is a bit less significant compared to the others. Clemson really still doesn’t have a good look of where it’s at offensively.
Is DJ in serious trouble or is it just early season jitters? The O-line wasn’t nearly as bad as week one, but then again, it’s South Carolina State. How do they fair against their conference foes? Georgia Tech will be the first ACC test and a decent benchmark of what’s to come.
(Yes, the Yellow Jackets are understandably not the cream of the crop in the ACC, but the rest of the conference sure isn’t looking much better.)
Until then, it’s time to prematurely laugh at South Carolina’s inevitable blowout loss to Georgia.