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First practice observations: Watson, Dye and business as usual

  by - Senior Writer - Friday, August 1, 2014 7:59 PM

Zac Brooks works with Tony Elliott

CLEMSON – The Clemson football team stretched to the lyrics of “The Boys Are Back in Town” and then headed out onto the practice fields beside the indoor practice facility for the first practice of 2014 fall camp Friday afternoon.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so we’ll get right into it.

The first observation I had was that there was a different feel to that first practice than we’ve had over the past few years. In the past, there’s been excitement and a youthful exuberance that was palpable. This year, I didn’t get that feeling, and another media member came over to me and mentioned the same thing.

With that in mind, I watched a little more closely and came to the realization that for the first time in a long time, this team is led by a fairly large group of seniors and juniors. There wasn’t excitement because these guys have been through all of this before, and it was more like “business as usual” rather than trying to force the emotion.


Clemson 2015 quarterback commit Kelly Bryant of Wren was on hand to watch the proceedings, and the parents of corner Cordrea TankersleyCordrea Tankersley
So. Defensive Back
#25 6-1, 190
Beech Island, SC

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also took in the first practice. The Davis twins – Judah and J.D. – also took in the practice. Missing was tight ends coach Danny PearmanDanny Pearman
Assistant Head Coach / Tight Ends
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, who is still dealing with the death of his father.


Nothing new to report on Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Sr. Quarterback
#18 6-4, 205
Dublin, OH

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, who was as good as you would expect. He just looks the part of a quarterback ready to take over as the starter.

This is obviously the first time we’ve seen Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
Fr. Quarterback
#4 6-3, 190
Gainesville, GA

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in action since he injured his collarbone, and he looked way better than I thought he would. You can tell he has added muscle, but his size wasn’t what stood out – he was accurate on almost all of his throws, and one observer told me after one bullet pass and said “freak show.” Freak show is right – Watson has all the tools to be a good one, and he showed absolutely no ill effects from the collarbone.

He was also very accurate when rolling out of the pocket to throw, and it surprised me how much velocity he was able to put on his throws while on the move.

Stanford transfer David Olson worked out with Watson, Stoudt, Nick Scheussler (who also looked good) and was a lot more accurate than I thought he would be. Morris was calling the different plays, and Olson looks like he already has a fairly good grasp on the system.


Kellen JonesKellen Jones
RS Jr. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 215
Houston, TX

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wore a bulky knee brace, but he appeared to move with very little difficulty. Defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Def. Coordinator / Linebackers
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was coaching this group hard, and there were more than a few standouts. Out of the veterans, Tony StewardTony Steward
Sr. Linebacker
#7 6-0, 235
Hastings, FL

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was smooth. That’s the only way to describe it – for the first time in a long time he moved with a surefooted fluidity.

Another linebacker that caught my eye was freshman Korie RogersKorie Rogers
Fr. Outside Linebacker
#43 6-2, 220
Buford, GA

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, who has unbelievable speed for a man his size. Venables kept a close eye on him as well, and it was evident he has the tools to be a good one at this level. However, with so many experienced backers already on campus, will he get a chance at playing time or be forced to redshirt?


MacKensie AlexanderMacKensie Alexander
RS Fr. Defensive Back
#2 5-11, 185
Immokalee, FL

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was as good as I remembered, even though it was just drills. He dropped back to return punts at the beginning, and his speed and burst were evident. Another one that stands out was Cordrea Tankersly, who looks like he has grown an inch or two since the end of the spring.

Korrin WigginsKorrin Wiggins
So. Defensive Back
#12 6-1, 185
Durham, NC

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is another one that looks like he has added size – the muscle kind. There is no doubt that Mike ReedMike Reed
Defensive Backs Coach
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has a lot of athletes to work with back in the defensive backfield.

Tight ends

Holy weightlifters, Batman. Jay Jay McCulloughJay Jay McCullough
RS So. Tight End
#89 6-3, 230
Fort Mill, SC

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, Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
So. Tight End
#16 6-6, 235
Navarre, FL

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and the rest of the tight ends look like they should be able to take on defensive ends and linebackers in the blocking game this season. I know fans like to see these guys catch the ball, but there is no doubt that this group at least looks like they can block. If they can remains to be seen. However, freshman Milan RichardMilan Richard
Fr. Tight End
#80 6-3, 235
Savannah, GA

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quickly caught my eye – he has good hands and even though he looked a little lost at times, you can tell he has all the tools.

Wide receivers

I looked out on the field and saw a big receiver wearing No. 1 blow down the sideline, and my first thought was, ‘nice route, Martavis.’ Of course, Bryant is now with the Steelers, and the new number one is Trevion ThompsonTrevion Thompson
Fr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-3, 185
Durham, NC

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. Thompson and Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
Fr. Wide Receiver
#3 5-11, 185
Oldsmar, FL

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are the two that I kept watching.

Filling the leadership void

At the end of the stretching period, it was evident who was stepping into the leadership role that was left vacant by Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
Quarterback (2009 - 2013)
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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last season. Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
Conyers, GA

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was quick to jump in the middle of the both the offense and defense to enthusiastically lead the Tiger Jacks as well as lead the team huddle before the players broke down into positions.

Offensive line

The first stop I made was at the offensive line workouts to see who line coach Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
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had working with the first team. From right to left were Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS Jr. Offensive Tackle
#73 6-4, 275
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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, Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS Sr. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 330
Chester, SC

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, Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
Simpsonville, SC

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, Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#78 6-3, 260
Hope Mills, NC

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, and Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Jr. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
Brooklyn, NY

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. This was the first time that I’ve really watched Gore and he was extremely explosive out of his stance. Davis looked like he stayed in good shape despite spending most of the summer studying in Japan. Mac Lain is definitely a roadgrader and will pave the way for the running backs.

Charone PeakeCharone Peake
RS Jr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
Moore, SC

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Wide receiver Charone Peake – who had minor knee surgery a week ago – spent the first part of practice walking laps around the practice fields and on the working out on the exercise bike.


During the “tempo” period – that begins with all of the offensive coaches running around yelling “tempo” and the players methodically getting into their groups – Artavis Scott, Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Sr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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, D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Sr. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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, Sam CooperSam Cooper
RS Sr. Tight End
#86 6-5, 250
Brentwood, TN

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and Mike WilliamsMike Williams
So. Wide Receiver
#7 6-5, 205
Vance, SC

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worked with the first team.

Running backs

I spent a good bit of time watching the running backs go through ball security and change of direction drills. C.J. DavidsonC.J. Davidson
RS Jr. Running Back
#32 5-11, 185
Clemson, SC

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is probably the first person that caught my attention as he effortlessly went through the drills and showed good burst off the line. Late enrollee C.J. FullerC.J. Fuller
Fr. Running Back
# 5-11, 200
Easley, SC

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is a speed demon and was probably the quickest in 10-yard sets of all of the running backs. Tyshon DyeTyshon Dye
RS Fr. Running Back
#23 6-1, 205
Elberton, GA

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went through individual workouts and looked like he was moving fairly well. He was very tentative – as should be expected – maneuvering around the cones, but overall looked ahead of schedule. Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 195
Loganville, GA

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caught the ball extremely well and showed good use of his hips to turn up field quickly.

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Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 32) Author
New Story: First practice observations: Watson, Dye and business as usual
TigerNet News®
Watson is gonna take over, it's only a matter of time.***
Agree, 2015 is only a year away
Re: Watson is gonna take over, it's only a matter of time.***
Re: Watson is gonna take over, it's only a matter of time.***
Tiger Woods
He just needs to master the playbook.
Re: Watson is gonna take over, it's only a matter of time.***
Re: Watson is gonna take over, it's only a matter of time.***
See? I keep saying CJ Davidson will be the man at RB.***
I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
I agree w/you on CJ Fuller.
Re: I agree. I think CJD is gonna be a stud this year!***
My own observation
Prime T. Tiger
Looking foward to this season
Re: New Story: First practice observations: Watson, Dye and business as usual
Does anyone know???
Re: Does anyone know???
Re: New Story: First practice observations: Watson, Dye and business as usual
The keyboard pounder should sit in the back.***
Re: New Story: First practice observations: Watson, Dye and business as usual
12-0 here we come!!!
Re: 12-0 here we come!!!
Tiger Woods
Re: 12-0 here we come!!!

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