Thursday Update: Freshmen ready to make their debut

by - Staff Writer -
Tavien Feaster could make his Clemson debut Saturday
Tavien Feaster could make his Clemson debut Saturday

CLEMSON – When Dabo Swinney first took over the Clemson program, playing true freshmen was the exception, but with more and more prospects enrolling early and with improved recruiting, it’s quickly becoming the norm.

Last week against Auburn four true freshmen took the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium – Dexter Lawrence, K’Von Wallace, Tre Lamar and Jamie Skalski.

This weekend, however, at home against Troy, Swinney said he expects to see several first-year players make their Clemson debut.

"Tavien Feaster, Cornell Powell, Diondre Overton will hopefully get in there at some point. Tremayne Anchrum, Sean Pollard; we'd like to have gotten them in the other night but it wasn't the right situation to run those guys out there,” Swinney told a small group of media after Wednesday’s practice. “K'Von played. Some of these guys played on special teams - Denzel Johnson, Tanner Muse, K'Von. Tre and Dexter obviously played. We got a few of them in there on special teams, but there will be some other guys who will get an opportunity this week - redshirt freshmen and true freshmen."

Swinney said the influx of young talent in the lineup could be directly tied to early enrollment because players get three opportunities to learn the new system before they have to actually play in a game.

“I don't think the All-Star games have much to do with it because they don't have our systems all of that type stuff,” Swinney said. “It takes a while to get it. Certainly, coming in here early allows them to have a better chance. It's still hard, but it allows them to have a much better chance because they can get that semester and physically develop a little bit and mentally get the system in the spring, get in again in the summer, get it again in fall camp so you get installation three times. That's big as opposed to guys just showing up in the summer. It definitely helps them. Several of those guys who came in are going to play. I definitely think it's a benefit to those who do that.”

A prime example is Lawrence, who played 37 snaps – both on offense and defense – earning his first career sack and blocking for Wayne Gallman on a goal line touchdown run.

"He's had a lot of success on the practice field. It's big for him to translate that to the game field and understand that the moment's not too big for him,” Swinney said of the Wake Forest (NC) native. “It's just still football. His confidence of going on the road and doing what he does on the practice field at a high level against a team he knows nothing about and have the same type of success is great for his confidence. The first time I saw him this spring, the way he moved and his mat drills were unbelievable. The way he never flinched. Mentally tough."

Other notes

Xavier Kelly health update

"He's getting better. He's almost 100%. He's one that we're going to keep bringing with us. He's on the Clelin Ferrell plan right now and to be determined on whether or not we keep him on the shelf or take him off. A lot can happen the first half of the season, so we'll just wait and see on him."

Marcus Edmond to start at cornerback opposite Cordrea Tankersley

"I think (Marcus) Edmond will be back in there this week, that's what I anticipate and we'll finalize everything in the morning. He gives us a lot more options with the things we can do with Ryan Carter and Mark Fields is going to play just as much, as well. You know, Edmond earned that spot and he didn't do anything to lose the job. He's finally back now and he's had an excellent week of practice. We'll finalize it tomorrow, but wouldn't be surprised to see him start it off. You'll see all those guys play."

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