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Clemson seeks to replace Spiller

Of the two most pressing issues facing them the next four months, Clemson football coaches have a firmer grip on one than the other.

Last year, Dabo Swinney said he wouldn't come out of a game wondering if he'd given C.J. Spiller enough opportunity to win it.

Offensive coordinator Billy Napier recently said much the same when discussing the potential impact of sophomore tight end Dwayne Allen.

Replacing Spiller will be virtually impossible, but replicating his offensive numbers in the three R's - rushing, receiving and returns - may not be, which is where the two issues converge.

Running backs Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington are entrenched as components of the offense. The differences in their body types and styles are more distinctive than when Spiller and James Davis shared the backfield and are potentially as dynamic.

Ellington has Spiller's slash and dash. Harper, though 30 pounds heavier, is a hair faster. Along with sharing the bulk of the three-down work on offense, they are candidates for kickoff returns, where Spiller excelled.

Napier began preparing freshman quarterback Tajh Boyd for the inevitability of Kyle Parker's departure, whether that's sooner or later. With Parker playing baseball, Boyd had the first team to himself the majority of the spring. Napier said Boyd "laid a good foundation" during 15 spring play dates.

"I think he's figuring out it's going to take great effort, attention to detail and preparation to be a great Division I quarterback," Napier said, "That ability alone is not going to be good enough.

"So he's where we expected him to be."

Though the two issues are linked, identifying the most capable targets for whichever quarterback starts the season is the tangential to the other.

Bryce McNeal, Jaron Brown and Brandon Clear "took huge steps" toward emerging targets. Napier described McNeal as "capable," Brown as "a work in progress."

"I wouldn't give you a wooden nickel for Brandon Clear last year at this time," Napier said. "Right now, today, I think that guy's going to impact our team. He's matured. He's now been through a season. He's lived and learned to some degree."

So this is where Allen enters the picture.

Michael Palmer set school records for receiving (43), yardage (507) and touchdowns (4) by a tight end last season. Recently signed as a free agent by the Atlanta Falcons, Palmer predicted Allen would blow his records out of the water.

Tight ends and tackles coach and a former tight end himself, Danny Pearman as a veteran of four other ACC football staffs has seen a lot of good players come through the league. Pearman said Allen reminds him in terms of size and skill to former Maryland tight end Vernon Davis.

"I think Dwayne Allen is the most dynamic guy we've got," Napier said in the context of discussing receivers. "As I've told you guys before, it's all about players and getting your best guy the ball and giving those guys an opportunity to go win the game for you.

"We're not going to leave the stadium saying he didn't have his chance."

Four N.C. State players face drug charges after police found marijuana in an off-campus apartment.

Raleigh police say offensive tackle Jake Vermiglio, and defensive tackles Markus Kuhn and J.R. Sweezy each were charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for use of controlled substances.

All-ACC tight end George Bryan was charged with maintaining a dwelling for use of controlled substances.

A fifth person, Allison Elaine Davis, faces the same charges as Vermiglio, Kuhn and Sweezy. Davis listed the same home address as Vermiglio on a police incident report.

All charges are misdemeanors.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive says the league isn't considering adding teams but is working on a plan to keep up with other conferences if they expand just in case.

The commissioner said that the 12-member SEC hasn't talked to any institutions about joining and has no plans to do so. The expansion exploration is just an internal look at the potential advantages and disadvantages in case there is a "significant shift in the conference paradigm," he said.

University of Pennsylvania officials say one of the football team's captains has been found dead in his off-campus residence.

University spokeswoman Lori Doyle says Wharton junior Owen Thomas was found dead at 2 p.m. Monday. She says the cause of death has not been determined but "no foul play is suspected."

Thomas, of Allentown, was voted one of Quakers' captains earlier this month. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound defensive end was a second-team All-Ivy player in 2009.

Thomas' older brother, Matt, also played for Penn and graduated in 2002.

Georgia's depth at quarterback, already thin, could soon take another hit.

Georgia spokesman Claude Felton confirmed on Monday night that Logan Gray, the only scholarship player behind No. 1 quarterback Aaron Murray, met with coach Mark Richt to discuss his future with the team.

Felton's statement was released in response to rumors Gray, a junior, may transfer from Georgia.

"Gray's current status with the team has not changed, however, he is weighing options for the remainder of his playing career," Felton said.

Murray, a freshman, ended spring practice as the No. 1 quarterback after Richt kicked Zach Mettenberger off the team for violating team rules.

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