July 2, 2015

Season Projection: Wayne Gallman

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Wayne Gallman runs for a 30-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter at Wake Forest

Editor’s Note: The second in a series with OrangeandWhite.com where we project the 2015 stats for skill players.

A curious question has arisen from some Clemson fans this off season. Who will separate themselves at running back?

It’s almost like Wayne Gallman didn’t do anything to prove he is the man at least at the start of the 2015 season.

For my money it’s difficult to bet against Gallman who ended his freshman campaign with 769 yards and 4 touchdowns along with a 4.8 yard average.

The question for me is will Gallman carry the ball as often as he did in ’14 given the apparent depth at the position given that C.J. Davidson, Tyshon Dye, Zac Brooks, Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller are all vying for time at the position.

Gallman ended up with 161 carries over 13 games and while that averages out to 12 or so carries a game, there were two games where Gallman was north of 25 carries.

Dye has shown flashes and determination coming back for injuries, there are plenty of Choice fans around and Brooks was slated for a big role before an injury that wiped out his 2014 season. But you would think by now that Clemson fans would know Dabo’s modus operandi – this is Gallman’s job to start the season and barring injury or fumblitis he’ll be difficult to dislodge.

Clemson Football - Wayne GallmanThere were plenty of spring praises for Fuller and there’ll be one or two others that Dabo touts in the fall, but come September 5 number 9 will be the go to guy.

Sure, there are areas to improve upon: Gallman was inconsistent in picking up the blitz and there were times he seemed to have trouble keeping his balance in the open field causing easy yards to be left on the field. Those are typical freshman issues that should be corrected in time for the upcoming season.

I’m not sure we’ll see those 27 and 28 carry games Gallman had last season, but by the time the season is finished I expect more overall carries because there’s enough question marks in that depth (Davidson fumbling issue, Choice’s and Brook’s health, Fuller’s youth and inexperience) to think that Gallman will end up with a tick more carries and yards as he has proven he’s reliable and durable.

2015 Projection: 70 YPG (840)/7 TD/4.9 YPC/ 21 receptions 120 yards/1 TD

 

Season Projection: Deshaun Watson

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Clemson Football -  Deshaun WatsonEditor’s Note: The first in a series with OrangeandWhite.com where we project the 2015 stats for skill players.

One look at the numbers Deshaun Watson accumulated as a true freshman makes Clemson fans drool with anticipation of the season ahead. In an injury plagued campaign Watson completed 68% of 137 passes for 1,466 yards, 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Watson, he of the 330 career snaps, enters the fall as the grizzled veteran of Clemson quarterback squad, at least in terms of on field experience.

Watson showed a unique ability to complete longer passes hitting 73.3% of throws between 16-20 yards and 48.4% over 20 yards, but may have to rely on a shorter routes a little more often given the current make up of the offensive line.

While it’s difficult to criticize Watson for things that didn’t happen (more snaps/experience) it’s also difficult to assume Watson will continue a 14:2 TD to Interception rate, 10.7 yards per attempt, 15.8 yards per completion or a 188.6 QB efficiency rating or, as some Clemson fans believe, improve upon those numbers.

If Watson had enough passes to qualify among the NCAA leaders those numbers would have put him in the top 10 in completion percentage, 3rd in TD to interception ratio and #1 in efficiency, yards per attempt and yards per completion.

Watson v Louisville 2Stay healthy and maintain those ratios and a seat will be reserved for him at the Downtown Athletic Club in early December.

One way to dial back the hype a bit is to realize the majority of Watson’s numbers were put up against some, shall we say, questionable defenses. Again – not Watson’s fault – but still reality. Watson played 3 series at Georgia (11th ranked defense), a little more than 2 against Louisville (6th) and none against Boston College (17th).

The average weighted defensive ranking that Watson faced per drive? 97.1.

Almost of as much interest is the way in which Watson will, or won’t, be used in the running game in 2015 as the offense morphs from Chad Morris to the vision of Tony Elliott.

Watson SC 2014Here’s a mind bender: Watson played 330 snaps and threw on 137 of them, yet he was 49 yards away from being Clemson’s second leading rusher last season. When on the field Watson was a huge part of the Clemson ground game.

Three injuries in 9 months would make me less than eager to call Watson’s number if I were OC, especially with the unknowns waiting in the wings behind him at quarterback and it’ll be interesting to see how, and if, Elliott uses Watson in the running game more than as a decoy.

Gone are the days of leaving the quarterback in when the game is out of reach in order to achieve an insignificant record – the risks are too great – plus there’s a need to at least attempt to develop Nick Schuessler and, to a lesser extent, one of the freshman.

When the game is in hand, Watson will be on the sideline. His numbers may suffer a bit for it, but in the big picture it’s the right thing to do for Watson and the team.

2015 Projection: 68.0 Comp. % /252 YPG/30 TD/6 INT/240 rushing yards/4 TD

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Mike Williams set to lead Clemson receivers in potential farewell season

Mike Williams, Walker Smith

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Editor’s note: Gavin Oliver is a Clemson student and has done freelance work for The (Seneca) Journal, Tiger Illustrated and Orange: The Experience.

A rising junior, Mike Williams has a couple years left until he could graduate from Clemson University.

However, Williams’ on-field performance and upside points to another, maybe more likely, conclusion to his Clemson career — graduation from ‘Wide Receiver U’ a year earlier.

If he can substantiate projections of another stellar season in 2015, Williams will have the option to stick around for his senior year or follow the path of several WRU alum before him and choose to declare for the NFL draft with a year of academic eligibility remaining.

Like DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant, the latest Clemson receivers to exit for the NFL after junior campaigns, Williams has impressive measurables accompanied by a diverse skillset.

At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Williams has the size to get off the line when a cornerback presses and down the field where he can highpoint balls and use his length to absorb off-target throws. Williams is also a deep threat with speed, as evidenced by his career average of 17.5 yards per reception, a mark that is good for seventh in school history.Mike Williams

Finally, he has the two most important tools for a wide receiver — soft hands.

Williams exhibited this during the Tigers’ spring football game in Memorial Stadium on April 11, awing the record crowd on hand by extending his arm on a route near the sideline and plucking a thrown ball into his grasp for a one-handed snag.

The native of Vance, S.C., didn’t intend to be flashy with the grab. Receivers sometimes find themselves in positions on the field when their bodies cannot be contorted to complete a catch, and when one hand is the best bet.

That’s kind of something I work on a lot,” Williams said of his highlight following the game, “so it just paid off during the game.”

The product of Lake Marion High School in Santee, S.C., finished the contest with five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was pretty good to just go out there and play and have fun with the teammates,” Williams said after the game.

The performance built upon the excitement of his previous season in which his team-high 1,030 receiving yards were good for first in school history by a sophomore.

Williams reached the total on 57 receptions, six of which were touchdowns, and slotted in at fourth in the ACC in receiving yards per game with 79.2.

A Second-Team All-ACC selection by the media for his 2014 efforts, Williams knows the role he must assume in the receiver corps as the team readies for the rigors of the upcoming season.

“I’m trying to be the leader of the group,” Williams said. “Lead by example and just go out there every day and get better.”

Clemson fans should settle in and enjoy what could be his farewell fling.

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Summer Recruiting Update

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Editor’s Note: Chris Cox writes about Clemson recruiting on his site Tiger Talk.  You can follow Chris on Twitter at @TigerTalk_CU

It’s been nearly 3 months since the Clemson staff last received the verbal commitment of linebacker Rahshaun Smith.  Since that time, way back in March, the 2016 class has held steady at 8 commitments.  The long drought between pledges has some Tiger fans scratching their heads, especially after the Dabo Swinney Camp this past week.  At this time last year the 2015 class had already accumulated 17 verbal commitments so it’s easy to see why some of the orange clad masses are eager for the next recruit hop on board.

With only 11 scholarship seniors on the roster, one could expect this to be a much smaller class numbers-wise.  If you account for players who will likely bolt early for the NFL and potential transfers, you can conclude that this recruiting class will have roughly 16-18 commitments in total.

Based on those projections over half of the class is filled. In this article we’ll give you some names to keep an eye on and how confident we are in them signing with Clemson at this point in time.

Parker Boudreaux
OL 6-4 287lbs
247: 4-star (#9 OG)
Rivals: 4-star (#25 OT)
Confidence: 35%

Antonneous Clayton
WDE 6-4 218lbs
247: 4-star (#14 WDE)
Rivals: 4-star (#1 WDE)
Confidence:30%

Rashan Gary
DT 6-4 311lbs
247: 5-star (#1 DT)
Rivals: 5-star (#2 DT)
Confidence: 30%

Xavier Kelly
DE 6-5 255lbs
247: 4-star (#9 WDE)
Rivals: 4-star (#11 SDE)
Confidence: 20%

Tre Lamar
ILB 6-4 240lbs
247: 4-star (#11 ILB)
Rivals: 4-star (#3 ILB)
Confidence: 45%

Dexter Lawrence
DT 6-5 310lbs
247: 5-star (#4 DT)
Rivals: 5-star (#1 DT)
Confidence: 25%

Marquill Osborne-Tennessee Commit
CB 5-11 185lbs
247: 4-star (#19 CB)
Rivals: 4-star (#5 CB)
Confidence: 5%

Diondre Overton
WR 6-5 194lbs
247: 4-star (#31 WR)
Rivals: 4-star (#26 WR)
Confidence: 95%

Nyles Pinckney
DT 6-3 290lbs
247: 4-star (#26 DT)
Rivals: 4-star (#14 DT)
Confidence: 85%

Chandler Reeves
OT 6-6 255lbs
247: 3-star (#121 OT)
Rivals: 2-star (NR)
Confidence: 50%

John Simpson
OG 6-4 296lbs
247: 4-star (#3 OG)
Rivals: 4-star (#18 OG)
Confidence: 90%
 
Jordan Smtih
WDE 6-5 220lbs
247: 3-star (#22 WDE)
Rivals: 3-star (#34 WDE)
Confidence: 70%

OTHERS: Tremayne Anchrum (OL), Luke Elder (OL), Antwuan Jackson (DT), Saivion Smith (CB)

 

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