Pearman's tight end options limited heading into the spring
|Monday, February 11, 2019, 2:40 PM- -|
Clemson has been known for its depth at tight end, but after several key departures and the possible suspension of Braden Galloway, Danny Pearman will have arguably his toughest test in quite some time.
Milan Richard and Cannon Smith’s time at Clemson has come to an end, Garrett Williams is still trying to decide about forgoing his senior year and joining the Navy, and Braden Galloway could be facing a one-year suspension by the NCAA as part of the ostarine case.
That leaves J.C. Chalk as the lone scholarship tight end with any game experience heading into the spring. The rising junior has logged four catches for 40 yards in 151 snaps over 24 games, but he will be counted on more than ever in 2019.
Pearman told TigerNet before the national championship game that the spring will be crucial for Chalk if he’s to take the next step and gain the trust of the coaches.
“He'll have to continue working hard, obviously. Then, he'll have to have a great spring. Winter conditioning will start right after this game for him,” Pearman told TigerNet. “He has steadily improved this season. He's just had some veteran guys in front of him. It will be an opportunity for him to have a big, solid spring along with the guys that are back.”
Clemson fans saw flashes from Galloway – who had five catches for 52 yards and a score in 87 snaps over 12 games. Pearman said the talented Seneca (SC) native just needs experience.
“That's a frustrating situation but it is what it is, and we'll know more as the process goes,” Pearman said of Galloway’s potential suspension. “Braden just needs to work really hard in the offseason, get stronger, have another good spring, get more familiar with the offense. Then, he just needs to play more.”
In addition to Chalk and Galloway, Clemson brings in Jaelyn Lay – a top-five tight end in the 2019 class according to ESPN and Rivals. He was the No. 165 player and 16th best player in the state of Georgia. At 6-6, he is the tallest tight end in Clemson history.
For Lay, Pearman said his success and impact as a freshman would rely on his ability to pick up the offense and adjust to the physicality of college football.
“Jaelyn had a good camp with us. He did a good job. He'll join us in January,” he said. “It will be a big opportunity for him to jump in there. The thing you don't know is when you put the pads on, what can he do? He has the skillset to really help. How much can he retain of the offense? How can he handle it it physically? The only thing we need there is time to see whether he can do it.”
Clemson also has walk-ons Cole Renfrow (two snaps against Louisville in 2018 after suffering a torn ACL in 2017) – the younger brother of Hunter – and J.L. Banks a transfer from Georgia Southern who played 49 snaps in 10 games for the Eagles in 2015.