2018 Clemson Football Early Position Outlook: Tight End

BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 30: Milan Richard
BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 30: Milan Richard /
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Today we continue our analysis of Clemson football’s roster in 2018. Let’s take a look at the tight end position for the Tigers.

After losing Jordan Leggett to the NFL, the tight end position wasn’t nearly as involved in Clemson’s offense in 2017.

As a senior, Leggett was second on the team in receiving with 46 catches for 736 yards and seven touchdowns. Milan Richard, Clemson’s most productive tight end in 2017, finished the year fifth on the team in receiving with just 18 receptions for 210 yards and one touchdown.

To be fair, the Tigers’ entire offense took a step back this season from a passing standpoint. In 2016, Clemson ranked 7th in passing offense, averaging 333.9 yards per game through the air.

This past season, Clemson fell all the way down to 61st in passing offense, averaging just 235.5 yards per game through the air.

Without further ado, here’s the tight ends who aim to help Clemson’s passing attack get back on track in 2018.

Pre-Spring Projected Depth Chart:

Starter: Milan Richard (RSr)

2nd String: Cannon Smith (RSr)

Or: Garrett Williams (Sr)

3rd String: JC Chalk (RSo)

Incoming Freshman: Braden Galloway

Tight Ends Coach: Danny Pearmen

Position Outlook:

Clemson returns all but two of the tight ends that were on roster last fall. With DJ Greenlee and Shadell Bell moving on from the program, some of the younger players on the Tigers roster will see increased playing time.

Milan Richard started his fair share of games in 2017, as such I expect him to enter the spring atop the depth chart. Behind him, Cannon Smith will battle for reps with Garrett Williams who is returning from a knee injury that cost him the entire 2017 season.

If Williams were completely healthy, I believe he could challenge Milan Richard for the starting job. Before his injury, Williams was Clemson’s best blocking tight-end. While that isn’t the sexiest role in football, it pays dividends not only in the rushing attack, but, in pass protection as well.

I am excited about the two youngest tight ends on roster, JC Chalk and Braden Galloway. During his prep career, Chalk displayed intriguing ability after the catch, especially for someone his size. Hopefully we will see him start to gain confidence on the collegiate level in his third year with the program.

Next: 2018 Early Position Outlook: Wide Receiver

Galloway has the potential to be downright special in Death Valley. At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, he will have some work to do in the weight room, but, he has natural ability you simply can’t teach. As a former basketball player, Galloway has outstanding feet and body control, to go along with his soft hands.