CLEMSON -- When Clemson coaches decided to withhold junior receiver Rendrick Taylor from last weekend's game, he began looking ahead to next season.
Not so fast.
Taylor, who has missed four straight games with a tender hamstring, was sure he would seek a medical hardship waiver to restore his year of eligibility.
Then, with 8:45 remaining in the win against Maryland, fellow receiver Jacoby Ford suffered a season-ending broken left ankle, a major blow to a receiving corps already using a pair of walk-ons because of lack of developed depth.
Taylor said he had still planned to redshirt as late as Sunday evening until a conversation with several coaches convinced him otherwise.
"They put it in my hands," Taylor said. "I had made a selfish decision, but I chose to make a decision to help the team. The coaches felt like they needed me and I felt like the team needed me, so I'm going to give it the best shot that I can."
Taylor said he expects to play in Saturday's noon game at Duke.
In Ford's absence, junior Tyler Grisham said he figures to slide over and assume most of the slot receiver duties, with Taylor taking his spot.
An MRI revealed that junior defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson has re-sprained his left medial collateral ligament, the same injury he dealt with in fall camp. Jackson said he may not play in Saturday's game.
n EARLY WAKE UP: The Nov. 10 home game against Wake Forest will kick off at noon and be televised by ESPN2, the ACC announced.
n A GUARANTEED KEEPER: During his postgame locker room address, coach Tommy Bowden surprised junior tailback James Davis with the game ball.
Bowden had only given out a game ball one other time in his nine seasons -- to Charlie Whitehurst after the 2005 USC victory in which Whitehurst became the first Clemson quarterback to go 4-0 against the Gamecocks.
Davis guaranteed a win against Maryland earlier in the week, then ran for 129 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 29 carries.
"If you're going to do that, you'd better back it up," Bowden said. "But we talked about next time, just doing it a little more privately behind closed doors."
More bluntly, Davis said Bowden told him never to make another guarantee again, spawning laughter from teammates.
Davis said he began sweating the guarantee when Bowden frequently referred to it during team meetings Friday.
"He kept saying, 'James has guaranteed a victory, so I know he's going to come out and play. Are you guys going to be behind him?'" Davis said. "I was thinking, 'Oh man.' I was smiling inside, but I didn't have a smile on."
n AMONG THE GRIEVING: Three scholarship players -- tight end Michael Palmer, safety Michael Wade and kicker Richard Jackson missed Monday's practice to attend the prayer vigil in Simpsonville for Emily Yelton, the Clemson sophomore killed in the tragic beach house fire.
Wade and Jackson attended middle school with Yelton and her twin sister, Meredith, while Palmer had gotten to know the sisters the last two years.
NO. 25 CLEMSON (6-2, 3-2 ACC) AT DUKE (1-7, 0-5)
• When: Noon Saturday
• Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.
• TV: None
• Tickets: Available at 1-800-CLEMSON