Clemson football got off to a great start by beating Wake Forest Saturday night.
Under head coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson football has become synonymous with playing nearly 80 players a game and while that can be frustrating at the moment, that depth has served its purpose both in the season as well as long term.
Because young guys are getting meaningful snaps in games against conference opponents, Clemson hasn’t been hurt long-term as guys transfer or declare early for the NFL draft. We see other programs like UGA and LSU not be able to have sustained success on a national level because when they lose starters early, it takes them two seasons to rebound.
That said, there are five young guys that we cannot wait to see on the field again in week two.
The true freshman Clemson football quarterback ran out as QB2 against Wake Forest and I was more excited to see his debut than I was of Trevor Lawrence, though that had more with living in the area that Trevor is from and I saw him play in person many times.
DJ didn’t have a chance to show off any of his real tools. However, on his three pass attempts, the ball jumped off his hand and just looks different. Not sure how to intelligently explain that assessment but if you watched the game Saturday night, you get that.
Who knows how much we see of DJ as the season progresses but here is hoping to more blowouts so that we get more of the young quarterback throughout the season.
Wow and even that word alone does not do him justice. My partner here at Rubbing the Rock, Shawn Spencer, called him a “monster” and that too isn’t adequate enough.
There were a lot of people that were disappointed when Jordan Burch decided to stay in Columbia and go to school, but we tried to tell everyone that Myles Murphy was the much bigger prize and after his first performance Saturday night, we are sticking with that assessment.
While Murphy didn’t come into the season as the starter for Clemson football, there is little doubt that he will soon take over the spot that Xavier Thomas once occupied.
The top player in the 2020 freshman class and we saw why. While it is difficult for defensive tackles to jump off the page the way that defensive ends do, Bryan Bresee was wreaking havoc all night. His stats may only show two tackles, half a sack, and half a tackle for loss he was moving the Wake Forest interior offensive line all over the field.
Bresee and Tyler Davis are going to be the best defensive tackle duo in the country over the next two seasons and while he will more than likely have a freshman moment or two at some point, his ability to control the line of scrimmage will be a huge help to the Clemson football defense in 2020.
Fred Davis II
Another freshman defender that saw extensive playing time Saturday. He ended up with three tackles on the night and was called for a sketchy pass interference call in the second half but you can see why Mike Reed wanted him as bad as he did.
Davis has the size, speed, athleticism, and IQ needed to be an elite corner. Like all freshman, he is going to have his moments and unfortunately, that means he is going to give up a big play or two along the way but he has all the makings of being the best corner Clemson has ever had.
Lightning and Thunder II
Okay, so this will technically make six young players we cannot wait to see more of, but I am going to count Kobe Pace and Demarkcus Bowman as a unit.
Without junior running back Lyn-J Dixon, sophomores Michel Dukes and Chez Mellusi available Saturday night, the true freshman got an opportunity to show what they have. Both ended up with six carries for 22 yards each, so while this wasn’t a great showing, like every other Clemson freshman they have a ton of talent as they get more and more opportunities to showcase their abilities.
Who knows how the pecking order after Travis Etienne shakes out when all running backs are healthy, but a deep running back room is a great problem to have.