CLEMSON - Todd McClinton, who came to Clemson as a much-heralded tight end
from C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, will try a new position when
spring practice opens Saturday.
McClinton (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) will move to defensive line at the request
of head coach Tommy Bowden. Offensive coordinator Brad Scott confirmed the
switch - which at this point is classified as experimental - Friday
"The way Ben Hall came along at tight end, we thought this was a good move,"
Scott said. "It was a choice thing. Coach Bowden asked (McClinton) if he
wanted to try the move...talked to him about his possible future in the NFL.
He told Todd that if it didn't work out, he could always move back. He's not
being forced to switch."
Phone messages left for Bowden and defensive coordinator John Lovett were not
returned by late Friday afternoon.
McClinton, who came to Clemson as a partial qualifier, has two years of
eligibility remaining at the moment. If he graduates on time - Scott said he
is on track to do so - he could gain a third year of eligibility.
Regardless, Scott thinks McClinton can be very successful as a defensive
"He's probably going to play inside, though in some sets they may have him at
defensive end," Scott said. "But this is a kid with less than 10 percent body
fat who weighs between 298-305...He has a chance to do well there."
McClinton's move leaves the Tigers with only Hall as a game-experienced tight
end. He will be backed up by Bobby Williamson, a redshirt freshman, and
redshirt sophomore walk-on Scott Wade.
Wade, from Dutch Fork, was a scout team linebacker last year. He walked on
the Clemson football team after a year at the Naval Academy. The 6-1,
235-pounder was described as a "Morgan Woodward type" by Scott.
"I like the kid. I like his toughness," he said. "We ran against him when he
was on the scout team last year, and he would really hit you."
Scott said an injury to any of the three tight ends could result in McClinton
returning to the position. If he stays, it will be at least the fourth
significant position switch made by Bowden and his staff this offseason.
Running back Terrance Huey moved to cornerback, and tight end Mark Jetton
moved to left guard. Senior Altroy Bodrick, coming back from a torn ACL which
forced him to miss the entire 2001 season, will open spring practice at
safety instead of linebacker.