Clemson University

Tigers content with avoiding redshirt route for freshmen

CLEMSON -- Wake Forest built its ACC title run by redshirting nearly its entire recruiting classes.

Clemson appears to be going to the opposite extreme.

Through two games, the Tigers have used 11 of the 21 enrollees from their latest signing class.

The total marks the highest in coach Tommy Bowden's nine-year tenure and would likely have reached 12 had right tackle Landon Walker not undergone minor knee surgery last month, Bowden said.

After playing an average of four freshmen his first six seasons, Clemson doubled that figure (eight) the previous two seasons.

The increase is proportionate to the national ranking of the Tigers' recruiting classes, which have posted top-25 spots the last three years.

In addition to second-string quarterback Willy Korn, three freshmen defensive linemen -- tackle Miguel Chavis and ends Kourtnei Brown and Rennie Moore -- made their debuts in garbage time of last week's blowout of Louisiana-Monroe, playing seven or fewer snaps.

Bowden said he will reserve judgment until season's end on whether it was worth playing some of the 11 freshmen because the impact of injuries has yet to be known.

"Some of these guys want to play regardless and are adamant about during the recruiting process, and that's what their family wants, so we'll surely do it," Bowden said.

• STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: When ULM caught Clemson napping with an opening onside kick, the Tigers took notice. After a second one nearly worked later, they made changes.

ULM recovered both kicks, but both were nullified by penalties.

The second time, Clemson was prepared, but receiver Rendrick Taylor -- one of four players along the front blocking line 10 yards from the tee -- was plowed by a blocker clearing room for ULM's kicker to recover the slow-roller.

Consequently, the Tigers have practiced moving up players from their second wave of blockers -- safety DeAndre McDaniel and fullback Chad Diehl, at the forefront of the blocking wedges -- to the front line when the threat of an onside kick exists.

"We needed to get some leverage up there," Taylor said. "It's a tough job when you're by yourself and they're coming at you full speed."

• EXTRA POINTS: Bowden said offensive line coach Brad Scott continues to rotate players at center. Redshirt sophomore Barry Humphries is expected to retain his starting spot this week. ... It seems defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has a track record against every new opponent or coordinator on Clemson's schedule. During Koenning's stint as Wyoming's coach, the Cowboys beat Furman 20-14 in 2001. The Paladins' quarterback was Clemson tight ends coach Billy Napier, who went 12-for-24 for 169 yards. ... Ricky Sapp remains the starting bandit end, but converted linebacker Kevin Alexander would have a case if not for a few missed assignments against ULM.