Ever since Jordan Leggett left campus, Clemson football fans have longed for the tight end to be used in a similar fashion as it was with Leggett’s unique tools.
The usage seemed hit or miss in 2021, despite the Clemson coaches counting how many snaps the tight ends were on the field as “use”.
This season, at least through the first five games, things have been different. The combination of Jake Briningstool and Davis Allen have been targeted 32 times and recorded 27 receptions for 297 yards and 5 touchdowns and perhaps more importantly they have 0 drops between them.
Allen has been a versatile piece to the Clemson offense, one Dabo Swinney sees playing in the NFL for “10 years”. He’s lined up 64 times in the slot, 51 as an in line tight end and another 11 times wide, while accumulating the highest grade of any Tiger receiver.
Briningstool meanwhile has been more of an in line or slot guy, with only 2 snaps out wide, but he’s second on the team behind only Antonio Williams in yards per route run.
The two currently comprise two of the top three rated receivers in the offense, with Williams sandwiched between the two.
They’re both weapons for D.J. Uiagalelei as evidenced Saturday night, combining for 8 catches for 75 yards and one touchdown.
If you believe Swinney, Allen is the best blocking tight end he’s had at Clemson and while Briningstool still has work to do in that area, he’s improving, though the PFF.com numbers don’t particularly show that.
The highly rated Briningstool is finally coming into his own as a receiver in his sophomore campaign, while the veteran Allen is one of the most reliable players on the offense.
One reason for the offensive improvement for Clemson football has been the usage and effectiveness of tight ends Jake Briningstool and Davis Allen
While the offense hasn’t been perfect under Brandon Streeter, there is certainly improvement that can be seen and one of those areas of improvement is the deployment and use of the tight ends.
Allen is a problem in coverage anywhere on the field and Briningstool is becoming a go-to near the goal line.
Not just having them on the field, but using them as an integral part of the offense is a huge reason for the offensive improvement.
The first five game sample size has been encouraging and fun to see. Let’s hope the tight ends aren’t forgotten as the season moves forward.