Busy day in April: Stoudt, McDaniels take the podium while Dabo, Kiper heed the call

Rex Brown/Clemson IPTAY media

Clemson IPTAY media

BY AARON BRENNER
abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON — As of 8:42 this morning, Cole Stoudt has 6,579 Twitter followers. K.J. McDaniels has 3,439. Together, that’s a shade over 10k. For an apples-to-oranges comparison, Daniel Rodriguez has more than 11,000.

Stoudt doesn’t tweet that often, and his name has only been known beyond Clemson diehards and comic book-themed social media enthusiasts for about 10 days – though he did (and should) hit up Tajh Boyd‘s likeness for more Twitter groupies (Twoupies?)

As for McDaniels – his profile’s a little hard to find, he doesn’t tweet often about basketball, and … um … no, no, that IS weird he’s got fewer followers than some of the hacks who cover him. (Much love, @SteelerWill and @LarryWilliamsTI.)

Stoudt and McDaniels will see their fame rise a little bit this afternoon when they command the WestZone football team room podium all to themselves. McDaniels meets the media at 12:15 p.m. to talk about his long-awaited decision to leave Clemson basketball for the NBA Draft, while Stoudt will follow at 2 p.m. to take questions about being named the starting quarterback.

Expect McDaniels to praise his school for helping him grow as a player and a person – he clearly cared about Clemson, otherwise, he wouldn’t have needed three weeks after the end of the season to make the call to pack his bags. His head coach, Brad Brownell, will also be available to wax poetic on the man who became known as #Flight32.

Expect Stoudt to say all the right things – just like Boyd pretty much always did – and say them with about a third of the words his predecessor needed. (Yeah, Chad Kelly‘s name will come up. Deshaun Watson‘s, probably, as well.)

That’s not all the live coverage you’ll see today. Dabo Swinney bats second on the ACC Football Coaches Post-Spring Teleconference today, which begins with the first of 14 coaches at 10:30 a.m. with Steve Addazio at Boston College. Swinney will address league reporters at 10:40, before switching to the local guys at 10:50, so look for some interesting commentary from him. Since you asked (and even if you didn’t): Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher follows Swinney at 10:50, and Louisville’s Bobby Petrino bats cleanup at 11 a.m. Talk about a heart of the order.

And Mel Kiper Jr. has another NFL Draft teleconference this afternoon at 1 p.m., when he’s probably going to get asked about Sammy Watkins‘ strong possibility to go No. 2 overall to the Rams as well as how Brandon Thomas‘ ACL tear will affect his draft stock.

While we’re here, I chatted last night at length with Clemson baseball starters Daniel Gossett and Matthew Crownover, who opened up on their weekly routine that helps them round into shape for regionals. (Caught up with Dan Pepicelli and Garrett Boulware, too.) The way things are shaking out on the diamond, it’s probably up to ‘Goose’ and ‘Crown’ how far the Tigers advance in late May or June. Look for that recap Friday leading into the pivotal Miami series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Got all that?

(Hang on, I need to top off my coffee cup. Make it a triple espresso.)

As always, keep your eye on PostandCourier.com and the Tiger Tracks blog as we’ll bring you the latest breaking news and notes from these interviews, plus contextual stories throughout the next week.

-AB

MAKING THE LEAP: K.J. McDaniels declares for NBA Draft

AP

AP

BY AARON BRENNER
abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON — The last time a prominent Clemson athlete took his time weighing his stay-in-school-or-go-pro options, the Tigers got their man.

K.J. McDaniels went the other way, deciding now was the time to launch his professional basketball career. The 6-foot-6 junior and all-ACC first-team forward will enter the NBA draft, as first reported Tuesday by Yahoo! Sports and confirmed by his father to The Post and Courier.

The early entry declaration deadline is Sunday, and McDaniels had been pondering his future since the season ended April 1. Across the street at Memorial Stadium, All-American defensive end Vic Beasley wrestled with his course in January but eventually chose to return to the Clemson football team for his senior year.

However, Littlejohn Coliseum will be missing its most breathtaking figure in 2014-15.

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Chad Kelly statement: “I am disappointed in myself”

BY AARON BRENNER
abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON – Chad Kelly issued a statement of apology Wednesday through his family, two days after being dismissed from the Clemson football program.

Kelly, who would have been a sophomore quarterback for the Tigers, expressed disappointment for “detrimental conduct” in a statement to the Syracuse Post-Standard, near his hometown of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

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Clemson QB Chad Kelly dismissed for detrimental conduct

BY AARON BRENNER
abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON – Football coaches want to see players rebound from adversity with class and determination.

For reasons a little murky at this time, Chad Kelly didn’t take that route, and therefore Clemson’s quarterback derby has cleared up dramatically within the past 48 hours.

Kelly was dismissed from the Tigers’ football program Monday by head coach Dabo Swinney for “conduct detrimental to our program” before the sophomore could compete with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson for the starting quarterback job in 2014.

“He has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program,” Swinney said. “I hope he will mature and grow from this and become the man and player I know he can be. I wish him nothing but the best in the future academically and athletically.”

It’s no secret Kelly wears his heart on his sleeve; unfortunately for him and his coaches, that boiled over Saturday at Clemson’s spring game when he was benched for the second half after sniping with coaches based on first-half playing decisions.

Kelly did not speak with reporters after the scrimmage, despite his status in the quarterback derby.

According to multiple reports, Kelly was involved in a Saturday evening altercation outside Memorial Stadium, and police were reportedly involved Monday when Kelly met with coaches.

A Clemson University police spokesperson said no incident report had been filed within the past 48 hours on Kelly. A Pickens County online public records search indicated the same information.

Regardless, Swinney decided to move forward without Kelly.

“The biggest thing is he got frustrated,” Swinney said Saturday after Kelly’s poor performance in the public scrimmage, marred on the field by two interceptions.

“You’ve got to understand, he’s still a young player. A big part of this position is maturity and leadership. Those are two things he’s got to continue to work on.”

A four-star recruit out of upstate New York, Kelly only logged 55 snaps his redshirt freshman year in 2013, returning quickly from a torn ACL in Clemson’s spring game April 13 of that year.

He completed 10 of 17 passes for 58 yards, while rushing 16 times for 117 yards and a touchdown. Kelly scrambled for three gains of 20 or more yards; he actually was Clemson’s only player besides lead tailback Roderick McDowell to have multiple 20-yard rushes.

New Clemson president Jim Clements: “You’ll see me at a bunch of games”

BY AARON BRENNER
abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON — After taking over as Clemson University president three and a half months ago, James P. Clements took a few minutes preceding the Tigers’ spring football game to meet with reporters and discuss a few topics, including fundraising for new facilities, his own love for college sports, and who is Clemson’s new good-luck charm.

Here’s an overview of our 10-minute chat with Clements:

You take over the position, and four days later, Clemson’s in the Orange Bowl.

“It was a pretty great first week, as you can imagine. So I started on Dec. 31, the first assignment was to get on the plane and go to Miami. Unbelievable environment, great people. Obviously a great physical game and a great victory for us. So it was a great way to start. And I had a chance to meet a lot of alums, lot of friends of the university. So it was a perfect first week, could not have been better. I think that tees up this season. Top-10 finish, big victory over Ohio State, so yeah, it was good.”

Dabo Swinney and Jeff Scott said you’re quite the recruiter?

“I’ve had a chance to meet a whole bunch of the recruits. I’ve been to a couple of the recruiting breakfasts, had a chance to take some of the recruits up on top of the Clemson House. Show them what the campus looks like, show them the football stadium where they’ll be catching the winning touchdown pass or making a tackle at the goal line. Look, I’m here to help in any way, and that goes for all the coaches, it goes for academics as well. I’ve been out to recruit honor students and national merit finalists. Anything we can do to help the university get better, athletically or academically, I’m all in.”

So you’re a big football fan?

“Absolutely. From the days I played when I was eight years old, yes. I wish I could have played at this level. Too slow. Not big enough. Not strong enough. But I love the game. And I love what it does for the university. Raises our national profile, raises our image. We have a great program, nationally respected, and really well-run. That’s in football, basketball, Olympic sports across the board. I try to get to as many games as I can. I’ve done that my whole career.”

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