Clemson hasn’t cracked the top half of the ACC on punt returns since 2010 – taking one back for a score once in the last three seasons.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney likes what he has, however, in the trio of standout sophomore receiver Artavis Scott, five-star freshman Ray Ray McCloud and former four-star target Germone Hopper.
“I think all three of those guys will have opportunities early in the season,” Swinney said. “We don’t have preseason games and only have so many practices. And you don’t have any people in the stands. We’ve got to take it to the next level and get some game experience from those guys. I’m really excited. Ray Ray had a bad day in our last scrimmage, but he’s really been good.
“I think that’s an area he can really impact us. Artavis has been phenomenal since last spring and so has G-Hop. We have three guys that want to do it that are excited about it. And we’ve put a big emphasis on the make-up of that team.”
On kick returns, where the Tigers haven’t repped among the top half since Sammy Watkins’ rookie campaign (2011), Swinney says there’s no lack of options.
He rattled off six different names in contention – T.J. Green (21.2 average in ‘14) and Scott (1 for 19 in ‘14) in addition to McCloud, Deon Cain, C.J. Fuller and Wayne Gallman.
Swinney addressed all the redshirts he was asked about last week. He cleared up any confusion on the rest this week.
Those not mentioned last Friday, but slated for the extra time in the weight room this fall: DTs Gage Cervenka and Sterling Johnson, WR Shadell Bell, S Tanner Muse, CB Kaleb Chalmers and Amir Trapp and DB Denzel Johnson.
Bryant coming on
The Tigers’ OC says the first thing you notice about 6-foot-3 Kelly Bryant is his “athletic ability,” but the mid-year freshman enrollee, who’s seen a few extra snaps after Tucker Israel’s injury (foot), has improved everywhere under Streeter’s tutelage.
“You see what he can do with the ball in his hands in space,” Elliott said. “I think everyone’s seen that’s he’s very capable as a runner. But what people probably haven’t seen is him developing as a passer.
“The ability to command and control the offense and make the right decisions and be able to make the right protection calls and technically he’s gotten a lot better through his work with coach Streeter. Just a combination and his ability and adding the technical aspect to it.”
Bryant threw for over 3,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a senior at Wren High, in addition to more than 700 rushing yards and 14 scores on the ground.