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This past week Jeff Davis, the most valuable player in Clemson football history, received word that he is on the ballot for the next class to be inducted into the college football hall of fame.
There have been better athletes come through this campus. His teammate Terry Kinard was a better athlete. Dexter Davis and Donnell Wolford were better athletes. Fred Cone or Banks McFadden were terrific athletes.
However, there was never one more valuable than “The Judge.”
In 1980 the Tigers were 6-5 and there were issues on that team like every mediocre team. One of the issues that faced the team that year was race related. Davis was a senior the following year and he decided that race would no longer be an issue. When the 1981 team traveled anywhere on the bus the sat black-white-black-white. When they roomed on the road, black guys and white guys roomed together.
Whenever anything came up, Davis handled it. His attitude was this is my senior year and my team and no one was going to ruin it. As a true freshman that season William Perry need a little kick in the butt every once in a while. Davis was the one to deliver that kick. He was the strongest player on the team and the most respected.
In August of 2005 I sat in Davis’ office talking about life, football and family. He told me this program will turn the corner when players take ownership in it. When the players say, “This is my senior year and no one will get in the way of the team goals,” then you have a team.
This kind of accountability is what you often see now during matt drills or spring practice. Anthony Waters is “The New Judge”. No one wastes one second when Waters is there. No one will get in his way or his team’s way.
There are a couple of position battles going on in spring ball. Proctor has distanced himself from Harper and Harper has distanced himself from Reese at quarterback.
Reggie Merriweather will not lay down for C.J. Spiller when the freshman gets here. Demerick Chancellor has also looked good. James Davis is clearly the man at running back and he is stronger than ever.
Kelly, Stuckey, Grisham, Taylor and Diamonde have had great springs at wide receiver.
The man who had made a move at tight end is Akeem Robinson.
The offensive line is solid. Coach Scott likes the progress of the red-shirt freshman especially Austin then Humphries then Lambert.
Newsmakers on the defensive line include Dorel Scott then Rashaad Jackson then Jock McKissic then Etta-Etta Tawo.
Antonio Clay has made a move to catch Tremaine Billie at one LB spot.
Kavell Conner has passed Cortney Vincent at the MLB. The staff thinks Josh Miller has a chance to be special but he will not beat out Nick Watkins.
In the secondary Michael Hamlin has been solid. At corner Duane Coleman, CJ Gaddis, Ray Ray McElrathbey and Chris Chancellor have shown flashes. Depth is a plus but experience is not.
The return game should be much better and the new punt formation has been embraced.
The Peach State
Last year Clemson inked several of Florida’s top players. This year look for Billy Nappier, Ron West, Burton Burns and Vic Koenning to do well in Georgia. It is a great year there and Clemson has some great ties to the state.
The Two-Back Set
Many of you have asked how will they use Davis, Merriweather and Spiller.
The answers have come early in the spring. Rob Spence has put in a new two-back look that will utilize the trio’s talents.
Could you do it?
Ask yourself if you could be as unselfish as Clemson’s golf coach Larry Penley. On Monday March 20, a couple of members of Augusta National invited Penley and his five starters to come the famed course less than a month before The Masters. Instead Penley decided to not play and took a sixth player. Because of club rules, Penley could not stay on the course grounds if he was not playing. The coach drove down Magnolia Lane, dropped off his six-some and drove back out of the gates. He returned later that afternoon to pick up his players and hear the stories of the day. Could you have done it?
Tigers’ Gain Not Necessarily Tigers’ Loss
Auburn picked up a commitment from Marietta, GA TE Bailey Woods over the weekend. Clemson had been heavily involved. However, from talking to scouts that have seen the entire state of Georgia, Clemson is not a big loser here. Woods was highly rated but there are others that are better players at the position in the state that Clemson is highly involved with.
How Good Is He?
This blog will have updated Willy Korn news very frequently throughout the next five years. But just to address a question I hear often, “How good is Korn?” Let me say that when you consider his size, strength, arm strength, feet, athleticism, accuracy, intelligence, competitive nature, leadership ability and almost anything else you could think of when looking at a high school quarterback then Korn is by far the best I have ever seen.
No one will throw more passes for more yards and more completions in the history of the state of South Carolina than Korn. Also consider that no one will have won more games and more state titles than Korn.