Clemson coach Dabo Swinney announced good news and bad news as far as injuries are concerned during his news conference on Tuesday.
Defensive linemen Scott Pagano and Richard Yeargin are back practicing and will play in the postseason, but wide receiver Trevion Thompson, who was injured in the ACC Championship Game, is out until at least the start of spring practice.
“He has a fracture in his wrist, so he’s going to be out for a while,” Swinney said of Thompson. “There’s a couple of phases. He probably will not be back full speed until probably the second half of spring practice. Really disappointed for him.”
Yeargin played in 10 games this season, with 14 tackles and four tackles for loss, while Pagano played in 10 games with four sacks. He has 27 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss.
Pagano hasn’t played since Nov. 12 against Pitt, while Yeargin was injured in practice prior to the South Carolina game the last week of November.
Thompson has played in all 13 games this season, with 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. He had one catch for three yards in the ACC title game before breaking his wrist.
“Statistically he may not be a guy that everybody goes, ‘Wow,’ but let me tell you, that young man has made a ton of progress,” Swinney said of Thompson. “He’s already a good player for us, but he’s one of those guys you’ll look up in a couple of years and you’ll go, ‘Wow,’ cause he’ll be playing on Sundays.”
SCOUT TEAM STAR
Clemson’s defensive front has been one of the best in the nation this season, and the Tigers have talent on the scout team that will help next year, according to Swinney.
One of those players expected to contribute in 2017 is defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney, who is redshirting as a freshman.
“He’s gotten scout-team player of the week about four or five times already,” Swinney said. “This guy is going to be a heck of a player for us.”
The Tigers came close to playing Pinckney this season, but ultimately decided to save him for next year.
“I’m really glad I didn’t (play him this year) because I think he’s going to be even more prepared because of his experience this fall and having to watch a little bit,” Swinney said.
Sophomore Christian Wilkins was forced to play defensive end for most of the season because ofinjuries, and has excelled with 51 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss.
But he has said throughout his career he would prefer to play inside. Swinney said Tuesday he expects Wilkins to end up moving back inside to finish out his career.