3 questions about the Clemson Football tight ends this spring

Clemson Football has a reliable starter and backup, two evolving options and a heralded freshman at tight end in 2024, but there are still a few lingering questions.

Nov 11, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jake Briningstool (9)
Nov 11, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jake Briningstool (9) / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

Spring practice has finally arrived, and there are plenty of things Clemson fans want to see. Here are three questions I am pondering about the tight ends as practices commence.

Can Jake Briningstool reach Jordan Leggett-type yardage?

As a senior in 2016, Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett logged 46 receptions for 736 yards and seven touchdowns. He was Deshaun Watson’s second-best target after Mike Williams.

For perspective, in 2023 as a junior Jake Briningstool logged 50 receptions, four more than Leggett, but only picked up 498 yards and five touchdowns. Additionally, Clemson’s leading receiver in 2023, Tyler Brown, only had 531 yards, so not even the receivers came even close to Leggett's production of receiving yards in 2016.

No doubt Leggett benefited from Watson’s ability to go down the field better than Cade Klubnik. You can also make the argument that if Briningstool had played as well in the first half of 2023 as he did in the back half, he very well might have eclipsed Leggett’s yardage from 2016.

If Briningstool simply needed some time to really understand Garrett Riley’s offense and the elevation of his play was inspired by the offense clicking for him, it is reasonable to expect Briningstool to be a bigger part of the game plan from the start in 2024. If so, he could definitely be on pace to beat Leggett’s 2016 totals for yardage and touchdowns.

Next: Who will be the primary backup?