Could Clemson fans see Dorian O'Daniel at the Nickel/SAM spot?


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Could Clemson fans see Dorian O'Daniel at the Nickel/SAM spot?

Could Clemson fans see Dorian O’Daniel at the Nickel/SAM spot played by freshman Travis Blanks last season? It’s a possibility, according to the 2013 Clemson commit out of Olney (MD) Our Lady of Good Counsel.

O’Daniel signed with the Tigers as a linebacker, but he says the Nickel/SAM spot is a way to get on the field early in his freshman season.

“The vibe I am getting is that they want me to come in and play,” O’Daniel told TigerNet. “I want to come in and make an impact – we all do. They have told me about the Nickel/SAM backer spot, so I want to get down there and see where it goes from there. I am friends with Travis, and I’ve talked to him about it. I heard they were moving him to free safety and that other spot would be open for competition.”

O’Daniel said he has been getting his body ready for the rigors of college football, and is already up to 207 pounds.

“I have been working with a trainer that trains current and former NFL players on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” he said. “I have put on about seven pounds in the last month. Putting weight on me has always been a problem, so it’s good to see all of the hard work pay off.”

In the meantime, O’Daniel has also been getting his academics in order.

“Surprisingly enough, this has been an easy last semester for me,” he said. “Especially with the senior project. But I’ve been fortunate and I’ve had the best GPA of my school career – a 3.0. I find it ironic that I saved the best for last. I pulled it up.”

O’Daniel said he will graduate on time and be on Clemson’s campus June 23rd. At that point, he will begin the process of learning the playbook and defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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’ schemes.

“Definitely, the hardest thing for me will be learning the playbook,” he said. “When it comes to instincts and athletic ability, I am not too worried about that. I just have to focus on learning the playbook, and learning the execution of the plays. I want to do whatever I need to do to play. I am just really looking forward to it.”

I asked O’Daniel if moving to running back was something that he would consider – he put up some eye-popping numbers from that position – and he said he didn’t know, but does love to play in the backfield.

“I don’t know. You never really know,” he said. “It’s funny that you asked that. You always remember your first love, and that is what I love. I know that Coach [Tony] Elliott has joked about it. But maybe because during recruitment I didn’t show as much interest in playing running back they didn’t really consider it. But it would be interesting to see where things take me.”

No matter what position he plays, O’Daniel said he is excited about the upcoming season and the possibilities he sees with the Clemson program.

“I am looking forward to working hard with the rest of the Clemson enrollees and current players so we can head to Pasadena,” he said. “You have to be optimistic, and there is no reason we can’t contend. We have great players and great coaching. I know you still have to play the games and see how it goes. But we will be ready for Georgia to open the season – that is a huge statement game.”



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