Who stood out during Clemson’s final pre-spring game scrimmage Monday at Death Valley?
Tajh Boyd: Dabo Swinney said Boyd “got better today” and “showed some leadership” after throwing a pair of interceptions early in the practice session.
Travis Blanks: The freshman defensive back continues to play like a veteran. He had an interception and 27-yard return on Monday.
DeAndre Hopkins: Tagged as the “player of the day” by Swinney, he had six receptions for 160 yards, including a 13-yard TD pass from Boyd and another for an 89-yard gain coming off the goal line.
Sammy Watkins: Just a typical day on the job for Watkins, with six catches for 56 yards.
Stanton Seckinger: His move to tight end looks like a good one. He caught four passes for 42 yards on Monday.
Andre Ellington: He had six carries for 96 yards.
Rod McDowell: The forgotten man in the Tigers’ backfield had a big day, with seven rushes for 49 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run.
Grady Jarrett, DeShawn Williams and Josh Watson: Jarrett and Williams were singled out by Dabo Swinney for their consistency on the interior defensive line, while Watson led the group with five tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage and a sack. Williams’ four stops include two for a loss of yardage.
Malliciah Goodman & Corey Crawford: Goodman had a quarterback sack and forced a fumble, and Crawford made four stops, including a sack.
Tyler Shatley & Kalon Davis: The Tigers’ projected starting guards earned mention from Swinney after their practice performance on Monday.
Matt Porter: A redshirt freshman walk-on receiver from James Island High in Charleston, SC, Porter caught a 54-yard touchdown pass and had two rushes for 25 yards. “Matt Porter is a walk-on with four years of eligibility and you are going to hear about him,” said Swinney.
Tony McNeal: The redshirt freshman may still have something to say about the backup quarterback position. He completed three of seven passes for 76 yards, including the 54-yard TD to Porter. “McNeal had a good day, perhaps his best of the spring,” said Swinney.
Zac Brooks: The first-semester freshman running back had five carries for 26 yards.
Eric MacLain: The big redshirt freshman tight end caught two passes for 30 yards.
Corico Hawkins & Tiger Willard: The Tigers’ veteran linebackers made plays – 7 tackles each to lead the team. They’re both working at the ‘Will’ spot this spring.
Justin Parker: He made five tackles and earned mention from Swinney: “Justin Parker is coming along at linebacker. He has been fun to watch improve and he is instinctive.”
Xavier Brewer: He, like Blanks, had an interception early in the scrimmage.
More Spring Notes…
• Monday’s session was the final scrimmage for the Tigers prior to the Orange-White Spring Game at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free to the spring game, and this year there will be no live television coverage. The game will be broadcast by some stations on the Clemson radio network.
• The pistol formation featured prominently in the scrimmage, including a long run by Ellington off the goal line.
• Chad Morris says that Mike Bellamy can improve his chances of touching the football by doing a better job in pass protection.
• Among the visitors to practice on Monday were a pair of 2013 recruiting targets – Michael Hill, a highly-rated defensive tackle from nearby Pendleton, SC, and Johnathan Howard, a wide receiver from Wilcox County High in Rochelle, GA. Howard received a scholarship from Swinney after the scrimmage.
• Brent Venables, like Swinney, said he’s been pleased with the play of Darius Robinson, particularly for not backing down in his match-ups against Sammy Watkins.
• Best one-liner: Talking about pushing the offensive tempo, Chad Morris said, “fatigue can make cowards of everybody.”