COMMENTARY: Todd McClinton Saga Almost Over


by - Correspondent -
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It appears the long, sometimes painful saga of star recruit Todd McClinton
will come to an end this week.


According to sources close to the team and university, McClinton finally
took his college boards in the last 7-10 days and the results may be in as
soon as Wednesday or Thursday.


McClinton, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end from Columbia's C.A Johnson
High School, had taken the test twice previously, scoring high enough for
admission to Clemson on his second try. But sources say the score jumped so
dramatically from his first attempt that Clemson red-flagged McClinton's
test and he was forced to take the exam yet again.


Meanwhile, the Tigers open the season Saturday against The Citadel with a
question mark at tight end. With last year's starter, Pat Cyrgalis,
dismissed from the team, Jason LeMay has been elevated to No. 1 on the depth
chart. Former defensive end J.J. Howard has moved to tight end to help plug
the hole.


In other words, even though McClinton has never played a down at Clemson,
his presence already is being sorely missed.


You have to wonder, however, how effective McClinton can be after missing
the entire preseason? Given the depth of Rich Rodriguez's offensive
playbook, by the time McClinton learns the system - and gets in game shape -
half of the 2000 season could be gone.


Maybe more.


So all of the hoopla may end up being over a tight end tagged with an
unwanted designation:


Redshirt.


***


One of the things Tommy Bowden requested when accepting the Clemson job
nearly two years ago was an upgrade in facilities.


Apparently, he's getting his wish.


Bowden mentioned the issue late last week during the ACC Media Tour stop at
the McFadden Building. He told reporters the university had shown a
commitment to upgrading and/or building new facilities - such as an indoor
practice complex - to bring it in line with other top programs around the
country.


"Players today want to see a visual commitment to winning," Bowden said.
"You take a look at the teams who won national championships over the past
10 years. Look at their facilities, then come look at ours, and you get an
idea of what I'm talking about."


Bowden refused to cite specific areas where Clemson's facilities are
substandard, saying the Media Tour was "neither the time or place to get
into that right now."


But this much appears clear: Bowden has requested an upgrade, and the
university apparently is going to honor that request.


Such a move by the administration may be one key to keeping Bowden here long
term.


The other, of course, is winning.


***


The loss of Clemson broadcast rights isn't keeping local radio station
WCCP-FM, 104.9, from providing fans with a chance to talk about their Tigers.


The station, which was stripped of its Clemson affiliation when the school
signed a new contract with College Sports Southeast, will debut its
"GameDay" program at 3 p.m. this Saturday.


The two-hour pregame show will run from 3-5 p.m. this week, providing
previews and/or recaps of action from around the state, the ACC and the
nation. The show also will give Clemson fans - and fans of other schools -
an opportunity to call in live to talk about their team.


Additionally, the station will debut a two-hour postgame talk show,
beginning approximately one hour following the completion of each Clemson
game.


WCCP also unveils a new daily talk show lineup beginning Sept. 4. Details of
the lineup have yet to be released.



Dan Scott is the sports editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.

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