Camp Confidential: Unknown QB steals the show in evening session


by - Staff Writer -
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Dabo Swinney kicks off the second session
Dabo Swinney kicks off the second session

CLEMSON – Despite the humid temperatures and the cloudy skies, Tuesday evening’s session of Dabo Swinney’s high school camp didn’t lack for fireworks.

There were fade passes, laser passes, bloody noses and plenty of high-profile targets still on campus.

We’ll start with an unknown quarterback in Dabo Swinney. Swinney was watching from his golf cart as quarterbacks threw fade routes into a big net. He couldn’t resist the urge to show the young guns just how it’s done. Swinney jumped out of his golf cart, called for a ball and proceeded to nail a 30-yard fade pass to the corner of the endzone. Swinney turned to the on-lookers and said, “Did y’all see that?” as he drove off.

A better-known quarterback in 5-star Hunter Johnson continued to impress Tuesday evening. At one point during individual drills, he sprinted to his left and while on the run drilled a ball into the middle target of the net, all while his future head coach looked on.

Hunter Johnson

The bloody nose? Nobody is really sure how it happened, but Clemson’s 6-7 offensive line commit, Noah DeHond, sprinted across the practice fields to the medical staff in order to have his nose tended to, but didn’t miss a drill as a little bloody nose wasn’t going to slow him down.

There’s just something about offensive linemen and blood.

*Swinney spent a lot of time on his golf cart with 4-star safety C.J. Avery out of Grenada (MS). Avery is the No. 74 prospect in the ESPN 300 and was given a tour of the practice facility by Swinney and the two spent several minutes talking at the beginning of the session.

They were later joined by Hillsborough (FL) defensive end Zachary Carter, who didn’t work out, but watched intently and spent some time with Swinney, as well.

*I spent quite some time watching the “A” group of linebackers and the first person who jumped out at me was Jake Venables – 2018 linebacker and son of defensive coordinator Brent Venables. At 6-1, 210, he’s built like a linebacker and is a technician when it comes to the drills. You can tell he’s a coach’s son.

Luke Price is another one who just looks like a football player. You might remember we mentioned him last year when older brother and former Clemson offensive lineman Philip Price brought him to camp. He’s a lot like his brother in that he’s physical and likes to hit. Whoever lands this 2017 linebacker will be getting a good one.

Clemson snagged one Bradenton (FL) IMG linebacker in Shaq Smith and may be positioning itself for another with Mike Jones, Jr. – a 2018 prospect. Jones owns offers from Clemson, Kentucky, Ole Miss, North Carolina, N.C. State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. He has good footwork, agility and isn’t afraid to take a hit.

*Kamryn Babb, the nation’s No. 4 wide receiver for the 2018 cycle was on hand for Tuesday’s two sessions. Babb is out of St. Louis (MO) Christian Brothers and at 6-1, 175, he certainly looks to have everything you’d want in a wide receiver.

Kamryn Babb

*As we mentioned last week, many of Clemson’s current players are working the camp, so it gives us an early look at that progression from spring practice until now, and for many you can already tell a difference.

Sophomore defensive tackle Albert Huggins has slimmed up and added muscle. Austin Bryant looks like he has taken his strength and conditioning to another level as he is noticeably thicker, especially in his lower body. Shaq Smith was a physical specimen before he got to Clemson but now he’s leaner and has added more muscle.

Offensively, Jay Guillermo has continued where he left off last season and looks to be in the best shape he’s been in while at Clemson. And, there’s some kid named Wayne Gallman, who looks to be a little taller and a little thicker.

The players do a great job with the kids, but one really jumped out at me tonight. Scott Pagano was working tirelessly with the defensive tackles. He was manning a drill where the kids worked on their stability while running around a large hoop, and for several of the kids Pagano was having to chase them to try and get them speed up. It was quite comical.

*The Arizona Cardinals were well represented Tuesday evening. Former Clemson defensive tackle Brentson Buckner was an interested observer as his son was participating in the drills.

Stump Mitchell – the former Citadel and Arizona running back – was also on hand, helping Tony Elliott, Gallman and Roderick McDowell with the running backs.

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