5 Clemson Football players in a battle for their job in Spring Football

With both coordinators returning for the first time since 2021, this spring for Clemson Football will be less focused on installation and more focused on evaluation.

Clemson offensive lineman Tristan Leigh (70) during the fourth quarter of the ACC Championship
Clemson offensive lineman Tristan Leigh (70) during the fourth quarter of the ACC Championship / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Tristan Leigh

Leigh was a member of the Class of 2021 and was a 5-star player in the 247Sports Composite. He was ranked 16th nationally in the final ranking. When fans see a ranking like that, there is a natural expectation that the player should challenge for playing time immediately and likely be starting earlier in their career than later.

Leigh was in an unusual situation, however. COVID-19 led to the cancellation of his senior high school season in the fall of 2020. When he arrived at Clemson, he had a lot of work to do to get physically ready to contribute.

As a result, he did not see much playing time in 2021 or 2022. He did step into the starting lineup in 2023 at left tackle, where he had been projected as a prospect.

The results were very middle of the road. At times the line played poorly as a unit and it was difficult to point at one player or another. The staff did move Leigh to right guard at one point, and the results were good, but injuries necessitated that he return to left tackle.

As Luke enters the picture, he will no doubt use spring to install his system, but it is also likely that he will be playing with different lineups to figure out which combination of players works best.

Colin Sadler played every bit as well as Leigh at left tackle when he was healthy.  It looks like Leigh and Sadler will likely be competing for that spot.

With the return of Marcus Tate, Walker Parks, and Blake Miller, the other tackle and guard positions appear to have solid incumbents, which means if Leigh doesn’t keep his job at left tackle, he probably will be second-string to start the season.

Next: Wade Woodaz