Spring Practice: Ford Could Be Next Currie, And Then Some

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CLEMSON - When wide reciever Jacoby Ford signed to play football at Clemson, he was immediately compared to former Tiger and current Chicago Bear Airese Currie.

The comparision was understandable. Currie, a track star on the side, was the fastest man on the Clemson team. He developed into a fine pass catcher by the time his senior season ended in 2004.

But Ford is different than Currie, too.

Mostly, Ford isn't a track guy. He's a football player.

“He is not a straight line guy. He has some wiggle to him," head coach Tommy Bowden said after Monday's workout. "He isn’t a track guy were you say just go deep. He can run reverses, make guys miss, accelerate and change direction.”

Bowden expects Ford to contribute immediately this fall.

His year at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy gives him a leg up on the maturity scale, and also allowed him to enroll in Clemson in Jan. and participate this spring. He's already expected to be a major factor on kick returns. But Bowden believes he can see signicant time at receiver, too.

“Jacoby has speed we don’t have,” Bowden said. “He would be a guy that could make some impact. How big of an impact? I don’t know.

“He will be the fastest guy on the team so hopefully we can find some ways to take advantage of that.”

In other news:

- Bowden said the team had another good practice on Monday, though again it was only in shorts and shoulder pads.

“Once you get the pads on then you have a more competitive environment,” he said. “Once we go Wednesday and get one-on-one drills, get inside drills and then get a little bit of team (drills) – you really can start evaluating a little more about team chemistry, leadership and things like that.”

- Rising senior punter Cole Chason is expected to be challenged in the fall by incoming freshman Richard Jackson. Unexpectedly, perhaps, he's being challenged this spring, as well.

Bowden said walk-on punter Mark Buckholtz is pushing Chason for first team.

“He is a pretty good kicker,” Bowden said. “We are giving him some heavy work right now. He is kicking just as good if not better.”

- The search to replace the graduated Tye Hill at cornerback has centered on C.J. Gaddis, who was moved from safety back to the corner before spring practice began.

So far, so good.

“He has looked really, really good,” Bowden said. “He has good enthusiasm. He is 208 pounds so he is a big, big corner.”

“We have six guys out there competing.(Tye is) kind of their benchmark, but it’s a great standard to set. C.J. is competing to try to be that good, but he has a lot of work to do.”

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