Looking Ahead: Loss of Timothy, DeStefano changes Tigers' OL dynamics

Newcomers like Tyrone Crowder, Maverick Morris will be needed sooner rather than later

Football - Maverick Morris

Photo by Mark Crammer

Football - Maverick Morris

Clemson's offensive line, a work in progress over the course of the 2013 season, will again be a key area to watch as the Tigers move through off-season drills and into spring practice.

Coach Robbie Caldwell loses a pair of starters in Brandon Thomas and Tyler Shatley, and with Gifford Timothy now out of the mix, that means opportunity for Isaiah Battle, Shaq Anthony and Eric Mac Lain to compete for the two tackle spots.

If Caldwell chooses, he can man his guard positions with this season's left-guard co-starters, David Beasley and Kalon Davis, with Reid Webster also in the mix. All three will be seniors in 2014.

The loss of Patrick DeStefano to injury and the slow progress of Spencer Region and Jerome Maybank will come into play as Caldwell tries to develop depth at guard, where he'll start almost from scratch in 2015.

In Timothy and DeStefano, the Tigers are down two players who would have been in the thick of the starting mix next fall.

Keep a close eye on this year's redshirting freshmen, Tyrone Crowder and Maverick Morris, as the Tigers move into spring practice. These are two players Caldwell will need to play major roles in 2015.

Another option at guard will be Jay Guillermo, who should break into the competition as one of the Tigers' six or seven best offensive linemen. Ryan Norton nailed down the starting center spot this season, and has two more years remaining.

Down the road, Clemson has one offensive lineman committed for 2015 - Noah Green of Boiling Springs, S.C. - and the Tigers are in the thick of the competition for Mitch Hyatt of Suwanee, Ga., who is ranked as the nation's No. 1 offensive line prospect for 2015.

Other 2015 offensive linemen with Clemson offers include Chuma Edoga of Power Springs, Ga., Richie Petitbon of Washington, D.C., Zack Bailey of Summerville, S.C., Mason Veal of Charlotte, N.C., George Brown of Cincinnati, Ohio, Martez Ivey of Apopka, Fla., Drew Richmond of Memphis, Tenn., and Jake Fruhmorgen of Tampa, Fla.

Following is breakdown of the Tigers' 2014 offensive line personnel, with games, starts and snaps from the 2013 season:

Seniors: Kalon Davis (12, 6, 465), David Beasley (12, 7, 391), Reid Webster (12, 0, 156)

Juniors (7): Isaiah Battle (9, 3, 282), Shaq Anthony (10, 3, 503), Ryan Norton (12, 12, 764), Eric Mac Lain (12, 0, 140), Joe Gore (7, 0, 58), Spencer Region (1, 0, 7), Jerome Maybank (1, 0, 3)

Sophomores (2): Jay Guillermo (8, 0, 182), Oliver Jones (2, 0, 24)

Redshirt Freshmen (2): Tyrone Crowder, Maverick Morris

First-year Freshmen (2): Taylor Hearn, Justin Falcinelli

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Comments » 11

TigerFan95 writes:

So, in the next two years we lose 10 of our 14 current linemen yet we’re recruiting only TWO!!! guys in this year’s cycle???. Unless things change, when that group of seven rising juniors graduates in 2015 we will have only SIX!!! returning linemen on our roster with at least a full year in the system. What the heck is going on up there in those West Zone offices?!?!?!

TigerNE writes:

Great summary. Thanks.

KerryCapps writes:

in response to TigerNE:

Great summary. Thanks.

Seems to me, in going through the classes, that the biggest issue at this time is the lack of production, so far, from three members of the 7-player rising junior class - Spencer Region, Jerome Maybank and Joe Gore. Gore and Region have had injury issues and surgeries with long-term rehab, so we probably shouldn't write them off yet. Maybank, I don't know. Again, the loss of Timothy and, even moreso, of DeStefano is a huge blow to Robbie Caldwell's hopes of having a 'normal' personnel progression at his position. The Tigers will be OK next season, but it looks to me that holding serve on the OL is probably the best that can be hoped for in 2015 and going forward, based on the players currently on the radar. That could change, course, with a couple of Sammy Watkins-quality offensive linemen in the 2015 class.

TigerNE writes:

KerryCapps - I don't remember expecting that much from Maybank.

And I wonder what they will do with the Timothy scholarship. I guess it's too late to leverage it for anyone in the 14 class, but maybe they'll go ahead and get in on a top 15 class lineman they haven't offered yet. Find someone at the Mitch Hyatt or Zack Bailey level and throw the kitchen sink at him. Maybe Nick Wilson out of Alpharetta??

KerryCapps writes:

in response to TigerNE:

KerryCapps - I don't remember expecting that much from Maybank.

And I wonder what they will do with the Timothy scholarship. I guess it's too late to leverage it for anyone in the 14 class, but maybe they'll go ahead and get in on a top 15 class lineman they haven't offered yet. Find someone at the Mitch Hyatt or Zack Bailey level and throw the kitchen sink at him. Maybe Nick Wilson out of Alpharetta??

I agree that it's probably too late to get another quality OL for 2014...I'm afraid the Kelleher kid from Wando is one they'll regret not getting on harder and earlier...CU and SC were in wait-and-see mode for a while, and then Florida and Stanford came in and the Gators stole him. My nephew coaches at Wando, and he'd been telling me about him for a while, wondering why Clemson and USC were so luke-warm on him. What's not to like about a 6-6, 285-pound in-state OT, with grades...

TigerNE writes:

in response to KerryCapps:

I agree that it's probably too late to get another quality OL for 2014...I'm afraid the Kelleher kid from Wando is one they'll regret not getting on harder and earlier...CU and SC were in wait-and-see mode for a while, and then Florida and Stanford came in and the Gators stole him. My nephew coaches at Wando, and he'd been telling me about him for a while, wondering why Clemson and USC were so luke-warm on him. What's not to like about a 6-6, 285-pound in-state OT, with grades...

Is it a matter where the kid was hotter on Clemson than we were on him? THAT would be a shame. Or did the school get a signal from him that made them hang in the shadows?

I keep reading people who believe Dabo doesn't care much about strong linemen over skill players like receivers, blah blah blah. But surely Morris and Venables see it differently even if true. And the fact that we have offers out for a number of the top 2015 OT candidates tells me we know we have a problem.

TigerFan95 writes:

in response to KerryCapps:

Seems to me, in going through the classes, that the biggest issue at this time is the lack of production, so far, from three members of the 7-player rising junior class - Spencer Region, Jerome Maybank and Joe Gore. Gore and Region have had injury issues and surgeries with long-term rehab, so we probably shouldn't write them off yet. Maybank, I don't know. Again, the loss of Timothy and, even moreso, of DeStefano is a huge blow to Robbie Caldwell's hopes of having a 'normal' personnel progression at his position. The Tigers will be OK next season, but it looks to me that holding serve on the OL is probably the best that can be hoped for in 2015 and going forward, based on the players currently on the radar. That could change, course, with a couple of Sammy Watkins-quality offensive linemen in the 2015 class.

Unfortunately Sammy Watkins type O-line recruits are few and far between and I cant recall us ever signing a single O-line prospect that contributed much as a true freshman. Even the best ones need a full season in a college weight and conditioning program. The only answer I see is for us to go the junior college route next year. Otherwise our offense in 2016 is going to be a train wreck. The fact that we're going to be in such a situation is down right derelict.

KerryCapps writes:

in response to TigerNE:

Is it a matter where the kid was hotter on Clemson than we were on him? THAT would be a shame. Or did the school get a signal from him that made them hang in the shadows?

I keep reading people who believe Dabo doesn't care much about strong linemen over skill players like receivers, blah blah blah. But surely Morris and Venables see it differently even if true. And the fact that we have offers out for a number of the top 2015 OT candidates tells me we know we have a problem.

I'm not really sure about any of that...for a long time he had no high D1 offers...then he showed out (strength wise) in someone's summer camp, and word started to get around. I think generally speaking this Clemson staff does a good job of identifying top talent early; but that doesn't mean some don't slip through the cracks, especially late-bloomers...

TigerNE writes:

in response to KerryCapps:

I'm not really sure about any of that...for a long time he had no high D1 offers...then he showed out (strength wise) in someone's summer camp, and word started to get around. I think generally speaking this Clemson staff does a good job of identifying top talent early; but that doesn't mean some don't slip through the cracks, especially late-bloomers...

Regardless of when he blooms, it is especially shameful since he was almost in the backyard. Of all the primary recruiting states (GA, FL, NC, SC) you would think they could keep strong tabs on the smaller count of high schools in SC. I might also expect that once Florida and Stanford sneaked in Kelleher (or his coach??) might reach out to the in state schools to give them another shot. Maybe I don't get the whole process.

33dtb writes:

in response to TigerNE:

Regardless of when he blooms, it is especially shameful since he was almost in the backyard. Of all the primary recruiting states (GA, FL, NC, SC) you would think they could keep strong tabs on the smaller count of high schools in SC. I might also expect that once Florida and Stanford sneaked in Kelleher (or his coach??) might reach out to the in state schools to give them another shot. Maybe I don't get the whole process.

maybe there's not a jetport near enough to Wando.

But I keep saying that we haven't really had a significant O-Line since the "late/great TB" thought he was too smart to need one. ...the same guy that hired Rob "bubble screen" Spence. .....the same guy was afraid to hire anyone that knew what they were doing for fear of his own job.. ......always wondered how Dabo got in under the radar.

BlueRidgeBengal writes:

Man, CU sure could've used JK Jay this past year. Kerry, any update on Jake Nicolopulos?

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