Several times this season I have mentioned how tough the short term looks
but the long term future of the program is on solid ground. I know fans
should put the major emphasis on the upcoming game but I wanted to qualify
why I am so excited about the future. Let's look at the future at several
QB-The staff is very pleased with both Tribble Reese and Cullen Harper.
Reese has great leadership skills and both will fight for the back up role
in the spring. This will be a great battle but both have impressed so far.
RB-Coleman and Browning are juniors but Coleman could regain another year if
he graduates on time. Merriweather's emergence has been a key to the
running game and he is just a sophomore. Also the Tigers will sign a great
tailback in this class with Columbia's Mike Davis being the main target.
WR-This group has lost a little of its luster this season with dropped balls
and injuries. Stuckey will continue to improve and he and Grant are just
sophomores. Collins and Baham come back next season for their final year
and the staff will put Aaron Kelly on the field often in the spring. This
group needs more playmakers but Rendrick Taylor, T.J. Williams and C.J. Byrd
would be a step in the right direction.
TE-The Tigers will miss Ben Hall but as little as they use the tight end
Cole Downer and Zack Green will be fine there. Do not forget that potential
candidates in the future could include Paul Muse, Phillip Merling, Durrell
Barry and Xavier Littleberry all of whom may end up on defense also.
OL-Here is where the future looks really bright. I have mentioned this many
times now but if everyone comes back that is eligible to come back and the
current commitments all sign with the Tigers then Clemson will have 19
offensive linemen on scholarship next season. Of those 19 only one will be
a senior. Here is how it could breakdown by class: Senior-Myrick.
Junior-Dukes, Bennett, Fry, Frye, DeBeer. Sophomore-Richardson, Pilgrim,
LaTray, Capote. Freshman-Robinson, Hutchinson, Willis, Tremel, Lambert,
Humphries, Austin, Ruffin, Grant. The staff thinks Richardson and Robinson could be a
future superstars. They love Robinson's athletic ability but feel he must
get bigger and he could also move to defense in the future. They love
Hutchinson's motor but feel he must get stronger and now rehab his knee cap.
Dukes could eventually move inside. Bennett gets better most days. The
incoming freshman may be the best they have signed on the o-line in many
years. If you can't tell I am ecstatic about the future OL.
DL-The defensive line signed more athletic bodies last year and the staff is
excited about Dorrel Scott, Rashaad Jackson and Jacquez McKissic. McDuffie
should see his time increase when he gets more consistent. Adams is one of
the most athletic defensive ends the Tigers in recent years. Next year
Clemson will depend on four seniors Bennett, Williamson, Groover and Tate.
LB and WHIP-The Tigers do not have the numbers and depth and this position
but they have quality and have not missed on many linebackers in recent
classes. Their evaluation has been very good here. Waters and Billie will
be juniors next season and Watkins will be just a sophomore. The staff says
that perhaps their best defensive player from last year's class is Courtney
Vincent. He plays as hard as any red-shirt freshman that Bowden has ever
signed. He will play an immediate role next season. Also they love
commitment Josh Miller who chose Clemson over FSU. We also think Adrian Kindred
could be moved to WHIP in the future. The staff would love to sign two more
LB in the upcoming class.
DB-This group could be fantastic next year or just above average. It
depends on Justin Miller. If he does turn down the NFL and if he stays at
corner. Tye Hill will also have a decision to make but we think he will
return for his senior season. Fudge will be steady once again at rover.
The staff will also make another decision on C.J Gaddis in the spring.
Another question mark is Roy Walker and his knee rehab. They loved him as a
red-shirt but he has been out the entire season. Sergio Gilliam is a steady
corner that will continue to see time as a nickel back. The freshman class
is another strength. Hamlin will be a superstar at safety. Clemens is a
good athlete with a good attitude. Croley has shown some signs this season
as a red-shirt.
ST-Chason and Dean will be juniors next season so the kicking duties are on