CLEMSON, SC -- Most of the buzz surrounding day two of freshmen workouts at Clemson University had nothing to do with the 11 freshmen on scholarship.
Reports broke Tuesday morning that Akil Smith, the Tigers' starting left tackle of a year ago, will redshirt the 2000 campaign so that he can continue to undergo treatment with blood thinners for a pulmonary embolism in his lungs, which he contracted earlier this summer.
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden said that he and the rest of the coaching staff will sit down within the next couple of days to come up with a game plan to replace the versatile Smith, who started 11 of CU's 12 games in 1999.
"We'll sit down in the next 48 hours and decide what we're going to do," Bowden said following Tuesday's afternoon practice session.
Smith, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound junior from Richmond, Va., earned honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in his first season as a full-time starter a year ago. He started nine games at left tackle and two at left guard while leading the team with 62 knockdown blocks in '99, and was expected to anchor the left side of a much-improved offensive line in 2000.
Smith was en route to Clemson from his home in Virginia on Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.
"We certainly follow the wishes of Akil's family and physicians," said Bowden in a prepared statement released by the Clemson Sports Information Department Tuesday morning. "He will 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 redshirt year as possible and we look forward to getting him back on the field in the spring and in our 2001 lineup."
Notes: The freshmen class caught a bit of a break Tuesday afternoon. As cloud cover
rolled in, Bowden cut the practice session short by about 30 minutes. "There are so many coaches with only one guy to work with," he said. "You run out of things
to do with one guy. And it wasn't hot enough to have practice once the sun went behind the
clouds. It's too cool. You can't get anything done. It's not challenging"
- Derrick Hamilton, the talented freshman wide receiver from Dillon, tested
out at only 4.6 percent body fat, the lowest of any newcomer. Hamilton also
had the highest vertical leap at 36 inches, while 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive
lineman Donnell Washington tested out at 30 inches
- Defensive back Toure' Francis, wide receiver Jeff Scott and tight end Morgan Woodward,
all non-scholarship walk-ons last year, have been awarded
scholarships for the 2000 season
-Both Aaron Hunt and Fletcher Anderson
kicked extensively Tuesday morning while a good number of the incoming class missed the
workout due to summer class obligations. "I'm interested to see how that competition
is going to go," said Bowden. "Both of them have looked pretty good"
Bowden will meet with the entire team for the first time Wednesday night.
The seniors will meet with him at 7 p.m., while the rest of the varsity will come in at 7:30.
Brad Davis is the assistant sports editor of the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.