Akil Smith To Red-Shirt 2000 Season


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CLEMSON, SC - Clemson starting offensive tackle Akil Smith, an honorable mention All-ACC tackle in 1999, will red-shirt the 2000 season, Head Coach Tommy Bowden announced on Tuesday.


Smith, Clemson's starting left tackle in 1999, who was slated to be the starter again this year, has been treated this summer with blood thinners for a pulmonary embolism in his lungs. He will continue to use the blood thinners this fall, and that will force him to the sidelines.


"We certainly follow the wishes of Akil's family and physicians," said Bowden. "He will still come to our practices and work in full pads, but will not be involved in any contact drills. We want this to be as productive a red-shirt year as possible and we look forward to getting him back on the field in the Spring and in our 2001 lineup.


"He is one of our top offensive linemen, a starter on the third best offense in Clemson history last season. So, it is a big loss. But, obviously Akil's health comes first and I will follow the family's recommendation."


Smith started 11 of Clemson's 12 games last year, playing every snap in seven games. Perhaps Clemson's most versatile offensive lineman, he started nine games at left tackle and two at left guard. He was second on the Clemson team in knockdown blocks last year with 62 and was a big reason Clemson averaged over 400 yards a game in total offense for just the third time in school history.


"We will meet as a staff this week to determine how we will replace Akil in our starting lineup. We will have a depth chart for our offensive line by the time we start practice for the entire team on Friday morning."

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