Commentary: Cleanin' Out Ye Olde Notebook


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College Football News has Whitehurst ranked as their No. 15 candidate for the award given to the nation's best player.
College Football News has Whitehurst ranked as their No. 15 candidate for the award given to the nation's best player.

For those of you who can't get enough football...


Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is getting some early talk as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate this spring.


College Football News has the redshirt junior ranked as their No. 15 candidate for the award given to the nation's best player. The website says Whitehurst:


"...is well on his way to becoming the most prolific passer in school history. He possesses many of the qualities coaches look for in a quarterback. He’s mentally and physically tough, a good leader and has terrific fundamentals. Whitehurst was a big reason Clemson finished 5-1, and figures to be even better in 2004, provided a few capable receivers can be found."


Meanwhile SouthernPigskin.com, which ranks only players from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference, has Whitehurst ranked as this region's fourth-best option for the Heisman.



"Clemson finished the season as hot as any team in college football, and enters 2004 with high expectations," the website writes. "Whitehurst is a big reason why. He is the prototypical lanky gunslinger, and because of the Tigers’ offensive scheme, is likely to put up incredible statistics.


"Many pundits are predicting Clemson to contend for the ACC title. If they do, Whitehurst will likely contend for the Heisman."


***


Whitehurst already has received his first award of 2004.


Monday he was named the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame's Male Amateur Athlete of the Year. Whitehurst will be honored May 20 at the association's annual banquet and induction ceremony, which will be held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Columbia.


Whitehurst will be honored along with Professional Athletes of the Year Stephen Davis (Carolina Panthers) and Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves).


***


As for the Clemson team, Tommy Bowden's squad is a solid pick for the preseason Top 25.


College Football News has the Tigers ranked 12th, while ESPN.com and CBSSportsline.com each have them ranked No. 13. Stewart Mandel of SportsIllustrated.com has Clemson at No. 16.


Fox Sports and The Sporting News aren't quite so kind. They have the Tigers finishing fifth in the ACC (not to mention Florida State quarterback Chris Rix as the conference Player of the Year).


***


Baseball is a funny game.


At a point and time when his team was dog tired from the combination of five games per week and a full class load, Jack Leggett's Tiger baseball team was playing its best baseball.


Clemson won 18 of 22 before having last week off for final exams. At the time Leggett thought the break would benefit his team more than harm it, figuring the need for rest outweighed the possibility of the Tigers losing momentum.


Instead, Clemson had a hard time getting its motor started after the layoff, losing the first two games of the just completed series with Florida State before pounding out 18 runs in salvaging the finale on Monday.


Such is life in this game. Sometimes momentum swings back and forth with no rhyme or reason. Usually, however, momentum is as good as the next day's starting pitcher.


Want to see how far this team goes in the postseason? Follow the success of the pitching staff.


Baseball can also be a simple game.


Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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