To help get you through college football’s slow days of late June and early July — before conference media days launch the preseason festivities — we’re counting down the 12 most important South Carolina Gamecocks and 12 most important Clemson Tigers for 2013. One Gamecock and one Tiger every day, so you can spend part of your summer studying the players who will make a difference for your team come autumn.
CLEMSON’S NO. 10 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:
JORDAN LEGGETT, FRESHMAN, TIGHT END
Here’s a few things you ought to know about the relationship between Clemson and the tight end. A tight end has ranked among the team’s top three receiving leaders each of the past four years; no other ACC team, incumbent or incoming, can say that for just the past two years. With Tajh Boyd at quarterback, Clemson tight ends hauled in 21 touchdowns in 2011-12; the next-nearest ACC group is Syracuse’s 10 scores over the past two years combined, which doesn’t equal the Tigers’ total of 11 last fall.
So if you gave offensive coordinator Chad Morris the option of playing two-hand-touch in the spring game and therefore not losing presumed starter Sam Cooper for the year to a torn ACL, he snatches the opportunity without blinking. Somebody’s got to be the next stud in line behind Michael Palmer, Dwayne Allen and Brandon Ford – Allen and Ford recorded eight TDs a piece in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The options are Stanton Seckinger, who’s really built more like receiver, redshirt freshman Jay Jay McCullough, and … Jordan Leggett. Don’t underestimate the value of getting a headstart on absorbing the complex playbook of Morris – who, by the way, was Leggett’s primary recruiter. He’s already got the proper body to pound in the ACC, so if he fine-tunes his route-running, look for Boyd to look for Leggett often in 3rd-down and red-zone packages.
Position: Tight end
Hometown: Navarre, Fla.
Last year: Three-star prospect enrolled in January, giving him a full spring to work out with the Tigers