Scott: 'Franchise' players line Clemson's freshman group


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Justyn Ross and Lyn-J Dixon (pictured) have Clemson coaches recalling a pretty special group in their time in at Clemson.
Justyn Ross and Lyn-J Dixon (pictured) have Clemson coaches recalling a pretty special group in their time in at Clemson.

‘Wow’ moments marked Clemson’s scrimmage over the weekend with none more impressive than a one-handed grab by freshman receiver Justyn Ross - a video that went viral and was even featured by ESPN.

“He's had a bruised right shoulder and his first play he gets in there and the quarterback throws it a little bit high and he goes up with his right hand and makes one of the most incredible catches that I've seen. I think his right shoulder is OK,” Scott said, beaming with a smile. “Then he came back and made two made two big-time catches in the end zone that were very impressive for his first-time in Death Valley.”

In the same scrimmage, another freshman in running back Lyn-J Dixon took his first play 50 yards for a touchdown to continue a big camp overall, impressing coaches and teammates alike.

“Man, Lyn-J can run. It’s rare that you see a freshman play that well that fast,” said junior linebacker Tre Lamar. “He’s really something special. He’s going to be a great player here.”

“Lyn-J, he’s been doing that every day we’ve been putting on the pads,” sophomore running back Travis Etienne said. “He goes out there every rep - he may not know what he’s doing but he's going to give it all he's got and give 100 percent. That's what we love about him.

“Him coming in just doing that and showing we need to do that and pushing us forward just makes us better as a whole.”

Add in more top talents such as Trevor Lawrence and Derion Kendrick and there’s a common theme: these kids are going to make an impact early. And that has Scott thinking big.

“I was telling somebody the other day that they kinda remind me of the guys who left in '16,” Scott said. “When we finished that national championship season offensively, you really had at every position your best guy was kinda leaving. Deshaun (Watson), (Jordan) Leggett, (Wayne) Gallman, Jay Guillermo, Mike Williams, Artavis Scott - I kinda see that in this '18 class.

“I see multi-year starters, leaders - those franchise-type players. That's going to be fun to watch those guys this year and the next couple years.”

Projecting out the season for the freshmen receivers, Scott sees a legitimate three-deep rotation.

“I think it's the deepest group 1-through-9 that we've had. Unless we just go backwards, I truly believe we have nine guys who could be starters,” Scott said. “They can go out and start and we don't have to worry about it. Obviously we're not going to line up with nine wideouts out there but that would be the most. In the past I've had seven with two guys you're bringing along.

“The bring-along guys this year are Justyn Ross and Derion Kendrick. They may be on the two-deep. There's not really anyone to bring along.”

Bringing instant-impact talent in like Ross and Kendrick, as well as Lawrence and Dixon, is a product of the consistency on Clemson’s offensive coaching staff, says Scott.

Much of the coaching group has been there from the beginning in the recruiting process for their players, with all but Brandon Streeter on staff since 2011 and Streeter on board since December 2014.

“There are other top programs who have had a new position coach for three consecutive years,” Scott said. “No. 1 it speaks to the culture that coach Swinney and the administration and everybody at Clemson has created to be able to have so many quality coaches here. Also it says something about the coaches and what they believe in the players. We're really excited about what we have and multiple years (ahead).

“It kinda works together and also I think it's important because we've been in this system so long, when we're recruiting we know exactly what we're looking for.”

More from Scott:

On freshman tight end Braden Galloway and freshman offensive lineman Jordan McFadden

Scott: The sky is the limit for (Galloway). I was telling somebody, this 2018 class of guys offensively, I think we hit on every single one of those guys. Galloway is one of those guys who immediately reminds you of Jordan Leggett. Just an explosive playmaker. We'd like him to get back. Hopefully we'll get him back sometime soon.

Another guy who doesn't get talked about who we are very pleased with is Jordan McFadden. He comes from a good program over at Dorman...He's further along than what we expected. Great feet. Been more physical than maybe we expected him to be as a freshman. Been a very bright spot. We'll see how he graded out in the scrimmage.

On Sean Pollard and Treymayne Anchrum on right side of O-line

Scott: It's too early to set a firm depth chart. I think Matt Bockhorst is a guy at guard who is very physical. He's one of them that you have to say 'Whoa' - not 'Sic 'em.' He wants to go after them. You have to pull him back a little bit. Very pleased with his progress. Both of those guys (Anchrum and Pollard) have done well. They know that we have (about three weeks) until we get to that kickoff. Even after that point, that's just who goes out there against Furman. Then it's what you do on the field and the depth chart can change.

On team mindset from the coaches on-down

Scott: Coach Swinney told me that he saw a stat that the ACC had done and we had played more guys last year than any team in the ACC. Obviously winning the ACC and being the top team in the ACC, obviously we've got some talented guys, but I think that speaks to the depth and (being) willing to put guys out there. I think our offense looks at it that way. When we start from the top offensively, we've got Tony (Elliott) and myself as co-coordinators. That right there starts at the top shows that this is a collaborative effort. This isn't about one person. It's not about one coach. It's not about one quarterback. It's not about one wideout. It's about that entire group.

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