Senior receiver Jacoby Ford was cleared for full participation at Monday’s practice, his first contact since re-aggravating a hamstring in Clemson’s first practice Aug. 4.
Ford felt confident he would make up for lost time.
“I’ll probably get hit this week in practice, I’m pretty sure,” Ford said. “Because they haven’t touched me all camp, and I’ve been talking trash to them.”
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While Ford and Clemson coaches have said the hamstring would not be an issue by the time the Sept. 5 opener against Middle Tennessee arrived, Ford’s lengthy rehabilitation raised eyebrows about the extent of the injury. He first hurt the hamstring in June’s NCAA track championships.
Ford said he can still feel a knot in the back of his leg, but it has not bothered him when he runs or makes cuts. He was involved in all of Clemson’s non-contact drills last week but sat out scrimmage work.
His return took longer than he expected because Ford said he tried coming back too soon earlier this month.
“I had to just settle down and take my time and get it right because it’s something that can nag you all year long if you let it,” he said.
Clemson updated its depth chart Monday with one notable change. Junior Richard Jackson is now listed as the starting place-kicker ahead of redshirt freshman Spencer Benton. The two had shared co-starter status.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Ford does not figure to factor in Clemson’s receivers rotation Saturday barring injury, position coach Jeff Scott said. Ford still has improvement to make in his route-running and use of various techniques, although he possesses the best ball skills at the position, Scott said.
Benton also returned to practice after sitting out five of the past six days with a pulled muscle below his hip. Benton got a shot Saturday that relieved the discomfort and said the injury is expected to take four to six weeks to heal. Doctors believe the pull is a result of Benton compensating for a pulled groin suffered in the preseason.
Quote of the day
“One thing me and coach Swinney talked about, he just wanted me to take my time. And I really think that was helpful, that they wanted to be patient with me and not try to rush me back so that when I do come back, I come back just one time.” — Ford
The most familiar player on Middle Tennessee’s roster will not play. Senior defensive end Jarrett Crittenton, a Clemson signee who failed to qualify out of junior college two years ago, suffered a torn knee ligament last spring and hopes to return late in the Blue Raiders’ season.
— Paul Strelow