CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Spring football is here, and we get our first look at the freshmen
Sammy Brown is one of two five-star-rated prospects set to debut this spring at Clemson.

Spring football is here, and we get our first look at the freshmen


by - Senior Writer -

Sports at Clemson are in full swing, or we could say full spring, and now we add football to the list.

This is the time of year when we are nearing the end of winter sports and the beginning of the spring season, and it’s the time of year when college football thrusts itself back into the conversation.

For the Clemson Tigers, a busy week also means the start of spring practice. We will have an interview session with head coach Dabo Swinney early Wednesday afternoon, followed by a media viewing session (five or so periods) and interviews following the practice. We will get another small viewing window and interviews on Friday.

We won’t be able to tell a lot from those first few viewing sessions and the interviews that follow, but there are several things we want to see, from linebacker Sammy Brown in a Clemson uniform and on the field to the leg of kicker Nolan Hauser.

Those freshmen are just two of the midyear enrollees who we will be watching. Here is the full list:

OFFENSE

David Eziomume, RB, North Cobb High School (Ga.)
Ronan O’Connell, OL, Page High School (Tenn.)
Elyjah Thurmon, OL, Bradwell Institute (Ga.)
Mason Wade, OL, Loudoun Valley High School (Va.)
Bryant Wesco Jr., WR, Midlothian High School (Texas)
Watson Young, OL, D.W. Daniel High School (S.C.)

DEFENSE

Sammy Brown, LB, Jefferson High School (Ga.)
Noah Dixon, S, Troup County High School (Ga.)
Tavoy Feagin, CB, Carrollwood Day School (Fla.)
Corian Gipson, CB, Lancaster High School (Texas)
Ricardo Jones, S, Peach County High School (Ga.)
Adam Kissayi, DE, Heritage High School (Fla.)
Champ Thompson, DT, Gainesville High School (Ga.)
Joe Wilkinson, S, Rome High School (Ga.)

SPECIALIST

Nolan Hauser, PK, William A. Hough High School (N.C.)

Of course, Brown is the most popular name on the list. The former 5-star was named by 247Sports as its No. 1 Freak Athlete and was named the nation’s top all-around athlete by MaxPreps for his success in football, wrestling and track, joining a list of previous award-winners that includes Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray and Derrick Henry.

Brown received the 2023 High School Butkus Award, presented each year to the top high school linebacker in the nation, was selected to play in the All-American Bowl on NBC, and was named as one of six finalists for the organization’s Player of the Year award. He won the All-American Bowl’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

During his senior season, he tallied 153 tackles, 12 for loss, three blocked punts and two interceptions. He also played running back and garnered 36 rushing touchdowns and 2,289 yards on the ground. Did we mention his versatility? He also won back-to-back state championships in wrestling and posted a time of 10.7 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

The other 5-star is wide receiver Bryant Wesco Jr., ranked as a consensus top 10 receiver in the nation by outlets such as ESPN, 247Sports and On3. In high school, he tallied 109 career receptions for 1,903 yards and 29 touchdowns.

During the recent Fort Hill Clemson Club Recruiting Wrap, Hauser, the kicker, made it known that he wanted to be one of the leaders of this class. He gets his chance to shine this spring and will battle Robert Gunn for the kicking duties.

Rated as the No. 1 kicker in the nation, he holds the all-time record for high school field goals in the nation with 66, taking over the former record of 56, which had stood since 2013, according to 247Sports. His 66 field goal makes on 81 attempts earned him an 81.5% conversion rate, in addition to a career-long 53-yard field goal.

Along the offensive line, we get another look at new offensive line coach Matt Luke. And while we think the Tigers are set at three or four of the spots (Tristan Leigh at left tackle, Marcus Tate at left guard, Walker Parks at right guard, and Blake Miller at right tackle), the center spot is wide open. Ryan Linthicum gets first crack at the job.

There are many other questions – who will grab a starting spot at defensive end? Who will grab a starting spot at the corner spots? Can quarterback Cade Klubnik take another huge step forward? Who will compete for the backup running back spot?

We get our first look at answering many of those questions on Wednesday.

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