CLEMSON - The list of high-profile freshmen in Clemson's fall camp reads like
a who's-who of great young talent. Wide receivers Roscoe Crosby and Airese
Currie, along with defensive end Mo Fountain, to name three, each reported
with high expectations and impressive pre-camp hype.
But just two days and four practices into the 2001 preseason, another name
has caught the attention of the coaching staff. Chip Myrick, the 6-foot-4,
255-pound offensive lineman from Atlanta, has used his apparent freakish
conditioning to turn heads in the days preceding full-squad workouts.
"He's a machine," head coach Tommy Bowden said following Tuesday's second
workout. "We don't know how good of a player he's going to be because we
haven't played yet. But he's been impressive.
"He was here second session (of summer school), and his running, lifting,
agility, vertical jump...all the things that imply you might be a good
player, he's got some of those characteristics."
Myrick was mostly recruited as a defensive lineman, the position Georgia Tech
wanted him to play when it offered the Lovett High School product a
scholarship. He was rated as the 83rd best defensive lineman in the country
But at Clemson Myrick is ticketed for the offensive line, mostly likely at
center or even tackle, depending on how quickly he gains weight.
"He's 255 right now, but he doesn't look like it," Bowden said. "He's our
second-tallest guy (among freshmen)...he'll (eventually) be 280 pounds. Next
year he'll be 270 and can run like the wind."
Myrick's most noticeable achievement thus far has been the ease in which he's
handled Bowden's dreaded "fifths," the conditioning drills at the end of each
practice in which players are timed in a run around the complete outer
boundary of the football field.
Each run is well in excess of 300 yards, and Myrick completed the first such
drill in 58 seconds. By the end, he was lapping his teammates and standing at
his post waiting on the vast majority to finish the brutal exercise.
"Not bad," Bowden said with a grin.
No workouts are scheduled for today because the freshmen are due in academic
meetings. Veterans report Thursday, and getting them processed again will
mean no practice.
The first full-squad workouts are scheduled for Friday morning.
Bowden likes what he sees from Ben Hall. |
- Bowden also went out of his way to praise Ben Hall, the 6-5, 240-pound
tight end from Byrnes High School.
His sheer athletic ability was expected, and Hall hasn't disappointed in that
area. But he's brought another, unexpected positive asset to camp.
"He was so quiet during the recruiting process, through the one-on-one and
all that stuff," Bowden said. "But he really has a good personality. He's
really loose and a lot more at ease than (before). There was probably a lot
of pressure on him in the recruiting process, and that's a side of him we
- Unsure of whether or not he should say so, Bowden relented and predicted
Eric Coleman would be in camp within 24-48 hours.
Coleman, the tight end from Fork Union Military Academy, apparently is
awaiting the proper paperwork from the NCAA Clearinghouse and can report to
Clemson once those are in hand.
No such word yet on Hoke County running back Micheaux Hollingsworth, who is
taking the SAT yet again after Clemson's admissions office red-flagged his
qualifying score last month.
- Bowden, as has become his custom, took a playful jab at one of the writers
gathered after Tuesday's workout.
Asked if it's common for freshmen to look so confused the first time they
line up in 11-on-11 drills, as was the case Tuesday, Bowden couldn't resist
the opportunity to have a little fun.
"I read your very first article when you got your first job. That was
confusing. I can't even remember what it was about. It was so bad you
confused me," Bowden said with a laugh.