Clemson University

Observations from Clemson’s first practice, including a new starting receiver

‘It’s time to be about it and not talk about it.’ Dabo Swinney talks start of fall camp

Clemson opens fall camp as the top ranked team in the country. Here's what Dabo Swinney said as the team gets started.
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Clemson opens fall camp as the top ranked team in the country. Here's what Dabo Swinney said as the team gets started.

Clemson held its first practice of fall camp on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. Here are some observations from the workout, including a new starter at wide receiver.

Starting receivers

Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross have locked up starting spots at receiver and are expected to be two of the best in the country in 2019. The slot position was up for grabs at the conclusion of spring practice and into the summer, but it appears that senior Diondre Overton has created some separation there. Overton worked with the starting offense during the hurry-up portion of Friday’s practice that was open to the media, and after the workout, receivers coach Jeff Scott said that Overton had a great day and is in line to start at slot as things stand today. In addition to Overton, T.J. Chase and Cornell Powell are also battling for a starting job in the slot.

Rest of the starters

There were no surprises on the rest of the starting offense. The offensive line from left to right was: Jackson Carman, John Simpson, Sean Pollard, Gage Cervenka and Tremayne Anchrum. Trevor Lawrence was the starting quarterback and was joined in the backfield by Travis Etienne at running back. J.C. Chalk started at tight end, with Overton, Ross and Higgins at receiver. Chalk moved well during the drill and appears to be in much better shape than he was in the spring.

Second group

The second-team offense consisted of Chase Brice at quarterback, with Lyn-J Dixon at running back. The second-team receivers were Joseph Ngata, Frank Ladson and Chase. Freshman Jaelyn Lay was the second tight end on the field, while the second team offensive line from left to right was: Jordan McFadden, Matt Bockhorst, Cade Stewart, Chandler Reeves and Blake Vinson.

Newcomer stands out

Former five-star prospect Andrew Booth stood out as a newcomer who physically looks the part. The cornerback, who arrived on campus this summer, is listed at 6-foot-1, 192 pounds. He glides when he runs and is smooth with his movements. He appears capable of helping the Tigers this season.

Punt returners

Clemson had several players working at punt returner, including Booth, Dixon, running back Michel Dukes, cornerback Derion Kendrick, safety K’Von Wallace and receivers Will Swinney, Drew Swinney and Will Brown. Kendrick is the likely starter at punt returner as of now.

Starting D-line

Xavier Thomas was voted preseason All-ACC, but the former five-star recruit wasn’t working with the first team during drills on Friday. The starting defensive line group consisted of Justin Foster and Logan Rudolph at defensive end and Jordan Williams and Nyles Pinckney at defensive tackle. Backup defensive ends were K.J. Henry and Justin Mascoll. Thomas worked with the third team. Thomas still has plenty of time to earn a starting spot, but the staff wants to see him become a more complete defensive end in fall camp instead of being someone who is just known as a pass rusher..

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Matt Connolly is the Clemson beat writer and covers recruiting and college sports for The State newspaper and The