Looking ahead, position-by-position: tight end

Tigers recruiting well, but Dwayne Allen, Brandon Ford have set the bar high

Sam Cooper catches a pass in the first quarter against Maryland

Photo by Mark Crammer

Sam Cooper catches a pass in the first quarter against Maryland

Looking ahead, position-by-position: tight end

No. 1 question: Dwayne Allen set the bar high, and Brandon Ford kept it there. Can Sam Cooper and Stanton Seckinger get the job done, or will one of the Tigers' versatile newcomers rise to the task?

The depth chart: On the day Chad Morris was introduced as Clemson's offensive coordinator, he was asked 'what will do with the tight end position?' The answer, delivered over the past two seasons is 'a little of everything, and a lot.' Morris employed the pass-catching skills of Allen (50 catches, 8 TDs in 2011) and Ford (40 catches, 8 TDs in 2012) extensively over the past two years, but now faces a transition year at the position. Sam Cooper served this season as Ford's primary backup, but is limited as a downfield, defense-stretching receiving threat. Stanton Seckinger is a big-target converted wide receiver who's still developing as a blocker and all-around tight end. Darrell Smith returns as the unit's designated 'fullback' - an extra blocker on used primarily on power plays. Eric Mac Lain saw spot at action at tight end in the fall, while transitioning to offensive tackle, which is expected to become his permanent position.

Joining the mix in the spring will be Jay Jay McCullough, who was recruited specifically for a role in Morris' offense, and Jordan Leggett, who plans to enroll next week after graduating from high school in December. The 6-3, 235-pound McCullough did a bit of everything at Nation Ford High in Fort Mill, S.C., where he worked primarily as a running back and wide receiver on offense. The 6-6, 220-pound Leggett, like Seckinger, will make the transition from high school wide receiver to college tight end.

Also working at the position will be walk-ons Alec Turner of Inman, S.C. and Mario Marshall of Cheraw, S.C.

Recruiting prospects: Clemson has a commitment for its class of 2014 from 6-5, 235-pound Cannon Smith, the son of former Tiger defensive end Bill Smith and Scout's No. 8 player nationally at his position. Clemson also has offers out to three other tight ends ranked among the nation's top 15 by Scout: No. 6 Milan Richard (6-5, 230) of Savannah, Ga., No. 7 Jeb Blazevich (6-5, 240) of Charlotte, N.C., and No. 14 Kalan Richie (6-5, 215) of Goose Creek, S.C.

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Comments » 2

Lynx26 writes:

Jay Jay is a monster, I'd like to see him at both TE and RB occasionally.

Brucepg2000 writes:

It would be nice if we could come up with a three tight end package to both support the running game and be a weapon in the passing game. I think this would help against some of the SEC teams we come up against in addition to further wearing down defenses and supporting the offensive line.

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