Pearman likes depth at tight end

by - Senior Writer -
Pearman likes depth at tight end

SENECA – The Clemson Tigers boasted a valuable weapon in tight end Dwayne Allen Dwayne Allen
RS Sr. Tight End
#83 6-3, 255
Fayetteville, NC

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last season, a weapon that caught 49 passes for 592 yards and eight touchdowns.

Those numbers will be hard to replace, but both offensive coordinator Chad Morris and tight ends coach Danny Pearman have high expectations for Brandon FordBrandon Ford
RS Sr. Tight End
#80 6-4, 235
Wando, SC

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, a converted wide receiver who caught 14 balls a year ago as Allen’s understudy.

Ford will be counted on to replace at least some of that production this season, and recent reports have him around the 248-pound mark. Pearman, Ford’s position coach, said he doesn’t know Ford’s exact weight but does expect great things out of him.

“I don't know where Brandon Ford's weight is right now. I've seen him a couple of times,” Pearman said at Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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’s golf outing this week. “He looks good. He looks like he's ready to go. I'm looking forward to getting started with him. Brandon has a big torch to try to carry. He's got some goals ahead of him. We're excited about him. He's improved quite a bit from when he first came to us. He had never played tight end before he came to the position. He's a willing guy. He wants to compete. He's dependable. He bought into it and really worked hard at it. He's improved on his blocking."

Competing for playing time behind Ford will be Darrell SmithDarrell Smith
RS Jr. Tight End
#84 6-2, 245
Gadsden, AL

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, Eric Mac Lain, Sam CooperSam Cooper
RS So. Tight End
#86 6-4, 240
Brentwood, TN

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, Stanton SeckingerStanton Seckinger
RS So. Wide Receiver
#81 6-5, 200
Isle of Palms, SC

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[who will also play in the slot] and incoming freshman J.J. McCullough. Cooper is the only one of the group that caught a pass last season – an 18-yarder against Maryland.

"None of those guys have a whole lot of playing experience, with Eric and Seckinger being red-shirt freshmen,” Pearman said. “Darrell Smith has been our most consistent guy. He's been on almost all our special teams and it's carried over. He's got an important role, similar to Chad DiehlChad Diehl
#30 6-2, 260
Lyman, SC

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for us. I think J.J. McCullough is a kid we'll be excited about when he gets here."

Seckinger has drawn rave reviews from the offensive coaches, and Pearman said he sees Seckinger as a contributor once he adds weight to his lanky frame.

"He's never done this. He's gotten in there,” he said. “He's bought in. His weight isn't very high right now but it doesn't have to be. He learns quick on the run. He's a viable receiver for us and ultimately he'll be able to help us on the line as a blocker."

Cooper has battled injuries throughout his time on campus, including this spring.

"He went through spring and has had a really good summer,” he said. “He got banged up a bit in the spring. We expect him to enter fall and grab the bull by the horns. The best thing he does is his blocking at the point of attack. He does a nice job catching the ball when he's in space. He needs to continue to work on his route-running."

Mac Lain is a solid physical specimen – shake his hand at your own risk – and Pearman said he is counting on the North Carolina native to provide a boost with his blocking.

"He had a solid spring for us. He's got to continue to improve his route-running and hopefully give us something at the point of attack with his blocking. He needs to be a hard edge guy, a guy we can count on at the point of attack. He has to be sound there. He needs to be able to get movement at the point of attack. If he can do those things, we can find him a place to play."

Pearman said he is also excited about the possibilities with McCullough, who might redshirt due to the depth at the position this season.

"I like his versatility. The 3-back position is probably the nightmare guy you try to find,” he said. “A guy like Dwayne is probably a typical guy who's big enough that you can attach him to the line but he can flex out as well. Do you line him up in the backfield? Does he lead-block? Can he catch? You've just got a big athlete. J.J. was a high school tailback, a big athletic guy. It's hard to recruit to that position."

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