Observations from Clemson's first practice

by - Senior Writer -
Clemson freshman wide receiver Ray Ray McCloud
Clemson freshman wide receiver Ray Ray McCloud

CLEMSON – Thanks to head coach Dabo Swinney Dabo Swinney
Head Coach
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, the Clemson media got to stay for an entire practice, something that hasn’t happened around Clemson in years.

Clemson football SID Tim Bourret said the media will get an extended look at practice this week because of the amount of young talent on the roster.

Let’s get started:

Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
So. Quarterback
#4 6-2, 205
Gainesville, GA

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and quarterbacks

He looks as good as ever. He still looks like maybe he doesn’t entirely trust his knee when he throws on the run, but his throws in the pocket are spot on. In fact, there were three or four times during the practice when he made throws that just kind of made the jaw drop. One was a stutter-and-go that turned into a long touchdown to Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
So. Wide Receiver
#3 5-10, 190
Oldsmar, FL

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and another was a bullet through traffic to tight end Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
Jr. Tight End
#16 6-5, 250
Navarre, FL

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The longer Watson practiced, the better he looked, including taking a zone read through traffic.

Freshman Tucker IsraelTucker Israel
Fr. Quarterback
#10 5-11, 190
Orlando, FL

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looked healthy during the early session but was in walking boot after six periods.

Kelly BryantKelly Bryant
Fr. Quarterback
#2 6-4, 205
Calhoun Falls, SC

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is another player that looks the part, but his accuracy wasn’t the best early on. However, once he got warmed up he made several nice throws, especially on the deep ball and the fade.

Offensive line

Like we expected, there is a lot of cross training going on with the offensive line. Maverick MorrisMaverick Morris
RS So. Offensive Line
#69 6-4, 295
Broxton, GA

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took a lot of snaps with the first team at right guard, and Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS Sr. Offensive Tackle
#78 6-4, 305
Hope Mills, NC

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took snaps at left tackle. Jay GuillermoJay Guillermo
RS Jr. Center
#57 6-3, 310
Maryville, TN

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also took a ton of snaps at left guard. It will probably be that way all through camp.

Defensive line

One of the concerns on the defensive line is leadership after the graduation of so many team players. However, defensive end Shaq LawsonShaq Lawson
So. Defensive End
#90 6-3, 269
Central, SC

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was in the ear of all the younger players. He took time with freshman Austin BryantAustin Bryant
Fr. Defensive End
#91 6-4, 250
Pavo, GA

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and was teaching him where to line up and where to go for the drills.

Wide receivers

Deon CainDeon Cain
Fr. Wide Receiver
#8 6-1, 190
Tampa, FL

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is VERY competitive. He wants to win every drill, and he goes at full speed all the time.

Ray-Ray McCloudRay-Ray McCloud
Fr. Wide Receiver
#34 5-9, 175
Land O' Lakes, FL

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’s talent is undeniable, and in the early part of practice he was trying to move too fast. Veteran Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Gr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-2, 205
Moore, SC

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ambled over to the freshman and said, “Slow down. You have this.” That was all McCloud needed. McCloud also looked like a natural while returning punts.

Trevion ThompsonTrevion Thompson
RS Fr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-2, 195
Durham, NC

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was another receiver that was impressive. He’s bigger than Scott, and he doesn’t mind getting physical with the defensive backs.

Defensive backs

Mackensie AlexanderMackensie Alexander
RS So. Cornerback
#2 5-10, 190
Immokalee, FL

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wants to take every single snap during the drills. It’s hard for the coaches to get him off the field – even though they try – and we saw a spark from Alexander after he was beaten on a pass play. Alexander came back on the next series, and his coverage was so good that quarterback Nick SchuesslerNick Schuessler
RS Jr. Quarterback
#12 6-3, 195
Grayson, GA

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didn’t even throw the football. Schuessler just held the ball and threw it back to quarterbacks coach Brandon StreeterBrandon Streeter
Quarterback Coach
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while shaking his head.

Cordrea TankersleyCordrea Tankersley
Jr. Defensive Back
#25 6-1, 195
Beech Island, SC

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was another that impressed Tuesday. He’s physical, but he shows speed that you don’t expect to see. One NFL observer watched a series of plays and said, “That secondary is big and fast. All of them look like they can play.”


Dabo Swinney can sometimes go a little over the top when it comes to walk-ons, and he spent a lot of the spring hyping up Hunter RenfrowHunter Renfrow
RS Fr. Wide Receiver
#35 5-10, 170
Myrtle Beach, SC

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. However, Renfrow looked the best out of all the punters during the early session, and then he was involved with the wide receivers and then acted like a defensive back during other drills.

Seth RyanSeth Ryan
RS So. Wide Receiver
#85 5-11, 170
Summit, NJ

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is another guy like that – he’s all over the field, and he even spent time calling in plays for the offense.

Clemson freshman WR Deon Cain

Tight ends

Cannon SmithCannon Smith
RS Fr. Tight End
#84 6-4, 240
Columbia, SC

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is big – he weighed in at over 260 pounds Monday – but he looks as agile and moves as good as the others. Leggett also showed speed and hands during the pass skeletons, while freshman Garrett WilliamsGarrett Williams
Fr. Tight End
#44 6-4, 225
Orlando, FL

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just looks the part. I am sure the coaches would love to redshirt Williams, but he does a lot of things well.

Redshirt freshman Milan RichardMilan Richard
RS Fr. Tight End
#80 6-2, 245
Savannah, GA

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missed part of the spring with ankle injury, but he looked as good as advertised. He blocks well and can make all of the catches.

Other notes

*The offense did well as long as it ran away from Lawson. When the play came to his side? Not a lot going on.

*Artavis Scott, Germone HopperGermone Hopper
RS Jr. Wide Receiver
#5 5-11, 175
Charlotte, NC

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, Ray-Ray McCloud and Adrien DunnAdrien Dunn
RS So. Wide Receiver
#82 5-7, 170
Clemson, SC

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all worked on punt return.

* Freshman WR Deon Cain had a nice one handed grab for a touchdown.

* DT Carlos Watkins tipped a ball for an interception.

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