|Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 10:00 AM- -|
We had a chance to watch 12 periods of practice Tuesday, and I wanted to share a few of my observations. I always feel the need to put out disclaimers like, "it's only the first day, or they were only in shorts." So take it for what it is worth, but I think this is, physically, the best-looking football team I have seen at Clemson. It is a big-bodied team. This team has some great looking physical specimens. Today I will give a few thoughts on the offense, and tomorrow we will focus on defense.
Deshaun Watson is good. Next. No, but seriously, he looks bigger and stronger. His skill set is what we already know. There is nothing to add except this is the best football player ever to play at Clemson.
The battle for the backup role got a new contender yesterday. True-freshman Zerrick Cooper is a great arm talent. The ball looks different coming out of his hand compared to Kelly Bryant or Nick Schuessler. We all have to pump our breaks because he is inexperienced and has to adjust to the college game, but Cooper has the second-best arm on the team.
Bryant continues to make strides and is a very hard worker who his teammates love, but there is still room to grow in his passing game. Physically, he looks terrific, and his running skills are off of the chart, but Bryant still has steps to take in throwing the ball.
Schuessler is a viable candidate for the backup job and is exactly what he has shown us since he arrived. He is a solid backup that has some physical limitations.
We saw Tucker Israel for the most reps we have seen him since he was injured this time last season. Israel has a live arm and makes a lot of the throws he needs to make. However, size is his biggest drawback and something that may keep him from competing for playing time down the road.
Dye looked healthier than any time I have seen him at Clemson. The same can be said for Fuller and Choice.
It is difficult to evaluate running backs in shorts and without contact, but Tavien Feaster is the best looking back in shorts. He looks 20 pounds heavier than I saw him last season. Feaster brings an explosiveness that the other running backs don't have.
You could write a book on this unit. Mike Williams looks bigger and stronger than any time I have ever seen him.
Artavis Scott is everything he has shown us for the past two seasons, and that is one of the best receivers in school history.
Hunter Renfrow looks the same but just keeps making plays.
Ray Ray McCloud looks to be in better shape than he was last season.
I think you can make a legitimate argument that Deon Cain might be the best receiver on campus right now. Maybe the better argument is he has the best ceiling.
Of the freshmen, Overton looks good but will need to add strength. Chase will have to get much bigger. You could tell he was not here until last week. But Cornell Powell looks ready to play. He is taller and thicker than I expected. The best compliment you can give him is that he looks like a Clemson receiver right now, and few true freshmen could make that claim.
This group looks deep and talented. Jordan Leggett is perhaps the best tight end in the country, and it appears he worked hard in the off-season.
Garrett Williams looks like he is ready to make the next big jump. He takes the game and his preparation serious.
Milan Richard might be the best looking physical specimen on the team. I think his role will increase.
This is the best looking group of offensive linemen I have seen at Clemson. We already knew what players like Jay Guillermo and Mitch Hyatt bring to the table. Jake Fruhmorgen changed his body since last season. Taylor Hearn is just a big raw-boned kid who moves well. Tyrone Crowder looks like he has continued to work hard in the offseason. The backups like Falcinelli, Pollard, Anchrum, Green and Giella are a good-looking group as well.
Perhaps the best-looking lineman though was true-freshman John Simpson. It is so rare to see a true-freshman that did not arrive until the summer, look so ready physically. You can't draw up an interior offensive lineman any better than Simpson.
Tomorrow we will look at some defensive observations.
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