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2023 Clemson Football Season Preview: Tight Ends

Clemson will be bringing it’s own Briningstool a lot this year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Miami at Clemson Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well folks, after a long offseason, we’re finally back to football. Clemson has opened Fall Camp and in a few short weeks, we’ll watch the Tigers kick off the season at Duke. We’re all anxious to see how Garrett Riley’s retooled offense will affect all of Clemson’s positions, and tight ends are no different. With a bit of youth and a lack of depth at the wide receiver position, Clemson’s tight ends may be a key to keeping the train on track.

2022.

In 2022, Davis Allen had the third most receiving yards on the team, which wasn’t a surprise given how he had emerged as one of DJ Uiagelelei’s more reliable targets. And Jake Briningstool came in at #5, which in and of itself is not surprising. What is surprising with Jake is that Clemson’s #5 receiver had 285 yards. Sometimes during the offseason, I forget how dire the Clemson passing game got in 2022, but that stat there slaps me in the face. But, in what we did see from Briningstool, he looked good. He also inspired one of my favorite Twitter bits of the season.

Yes, I misspelled Briningstool, but I eventually got that figured out. The Tigers will need Briningstool to bring himself this year because Davis Allen is now catching passes in the NFL for the LA Rams.

2023.

Briningstool is what I love in a tight end. He’s a tall kid (6’6”) and has some good size. He weighed in a 232 at the Big Weigh In, 2 pounds up from last year. He probably could stand to play a little heavier. Jordan Leggett came into 2016 at 259 and was an inch shorter. But again, Jake’s still young, so the size will get there. Otherwise, I’m excited for him to show out. He’s a good target for Cade Klubnik and has enough moves to make plays with the ball. I call these kinds of tight ends “oversized receivers” because you absolutely will see them split out wide and used more like a wideout than as a traditional tight end. In 2016 Clemson did a lot of this with Leggett, to much success. I’m extremely excited to see what Garrett Riley can do with this weapon.

So, who’s behind Briningstool? Grad student Sage Ennis looks to be TE2. I expect Sage to be more used as a traditional blocking tight end. In three seasons of play, he has 3 catches for a total of 25 yards. Freshman Markus Dixon has some of the physical features I like about Briningstool. He’s tall (6’5”) and already bigger at 247. He’s still probably going to be a work in progress, but definitely a guy I think could benefit from some garbage time reps during blowouts.

Another guy I’m watching? Banks Pope. Banks had an amazing Spring Game and came away with the game-winning touchdown. He’s a sophomore preferred walk-on out of Columbia. Am I saying he’s our next Hunter Renfrow? We’ll see, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the dream of Banks Pope catching a game-winning touchdown in the Natty against UGA with one second left.

Josh Sapp (son of Clemson legend Patrick Sapp) and Olsen Patt-Henry will also look to find their way onto the field, either at tight end or on special teams.