Jersey boys: Some observations from the first fall camp roster release

The bad news for Clemson is Nuk Hopkins is NFL bound, the good news is I suspect we'll see Sammy Watkins look more like his 2011 self in 2013

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON – The fall camp roster has been released, both in print form (the media guide) and electronic (the school website), thus allowing us to take roll call for the first time and take a peek at a few intriguing number changes.

But first, a few words of good news for you, the Clemson fan.

Nearly six months after signing day, Clemson has gotten all 23 of its spring commits on campus. (By the way, guys and gals, a commit is someone who’s actually signed his or her national letter of intent. Please don’t let anybody try to convince you differently, calling a Class of 2026 linebacker who assures the hard-working recruiting services he’s going to Michigan yet will almost certainly continue to listen to sales jobs from rival coaches from sea to shining sea a “commit.” End of rant.) That’s a testament to recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott and the Clemson coaches for making astute decisions, and just as much so to the 23 young men for getting their business in order and preparing themselves for school and football. It doesn’t always work out that way; just ask two of the 23, DE Shaq Lawson and DB Cordrea Tankersley.

Another fun fact: the Tigers only lost three lettering underclassmen after the 2012 season. One was WR DeAndre Hopkins, smartly jumping to the NFL as a first-round draft pick; the others were CB Cortez Davis and LB Lateek Townsend. That’s a terrific effort to avoid attrition.

A full and present recruiting class + almost 100 percent return rate from key contributors and role players = quality depth across the board. Clemson needs it, and it’s on the right path to obtaining it before the first whistle shrills in fall camp Friday.

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Let’s start with the seven most notable happenings involving jersey numbers.

- No. 2: You already know and love WR Sammy Watkins. Now try not to confuse him with freshman CB Mackensie Alexander. There’s a ton of talent donning the deuce out there.

- No. 10: LB Ben Boulware, the brother of baseball star Garrett (Clemson’s catcher and cleanup hitter), is a smart boy. He can look up in the crowd at Memorial Stadium at those nameless No. 10 jerseys and pretend they’re backing him specifically. (If you’re lost right now, you really need to step up your game.)

By the way, you know what also makes both those jersey choices interesting: Alexander and Boulware each wore the same jersey number in high school. No. 7.

- No. 23: RB Tyshon Dye takes over Andre Ellington’s number.

- No. 90: DE Shaq Lawson. Two dominant pass-rushers to wear the number: Neil Smith and Julius Peppers.

- No. 43: LB D.J. Greenlee. Also worn by Terry Kinard, Clemson Ring of Honor member and national defensive player of the year in 1982.

- No. 3: QB Nick Schuessler, the Mississippi State transfer. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Georgia product had a nice spring game; 21-for-34 for 220 yards, but he was wearing No. 17 at the time.

- No. 56: DT Scott Pagano. He wears the same number as DE Collins Mauldin. They can’t both play defense. Something will have to give here before the season – either one guy switches his number or one guy switches to offense. (Unless the team has a strict edict that one guy redshirts, and that seems awkward and unlikely.)

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Lettermen swapping numbers:

- No. 42: LB Stephone Anthony, switches from No. 12.

- No. 8: CB Darius Robinson, switches from No. 21.

- No. 13: WR Adam Humphries, switches from No. 16.

- No. 9: DT Tavaris Barnes, switches from No. 6.

- No. 18: QB Cole Stoudt, switches from No. 8.

- No. 55 DL Roderick Byers, switches from No. 92.

- No. 78: OL Eric Mac Lain, switches from No. 88.

- No. 40: FB Darrell Smith, switches from No. 84.

Scholarship players swapping numbers:

- No. 5: WR Germone Hopper, switches from No. 9.

- No. 72: OG Jerome Maybank, switches from No. 96.

- No. 59: OL Tra Thomas, switches from No. 95.

Walk-ons swapping numbers:

- No. 30: S Taylor Watson, switches from No. 47. He was a special-teamer last year; the redshirt junior’s dad and brother each previously lettered at Clemson

- No. 38: CB C.J. Jones, switches from No. 25. Once shared with Roderick McDowell, now shares with Julian Patton. Played a few snaps vs. Duke last year.

- No. 45: WR Alex Burdette, switches from No. 85. A “veteran reserve.”

- No. 46: LB Chad Richardson, switches from No. 43. A “veteran reserve.”

- No. 47: LB Marcus Bullard, switches from No. 57. A “veteran reserve.”

- No. 60: C Cody Thurlow, switches from No. 59. A “veteran reserve.”

- No. 84: WR Wes Forbush, switches from No. 89. A “veteran reserve.”

Other high school/prep school jersey numbers to know about … and don’t attack me if I missed some other cool significance. Remember, I’m new around here. But always feel free to drop me a line. (Players with whom they share the number, on the opposite side of the ball, are in parentheses.)

No. 1: DE Ebenezer Ogundeko (WR Martavis Bryant)

No. 6: LB Dorian O’Daniel

No. 7: WR Mike Williams (LB Tony Steward)

No. 9: RB Wayne Gallman (DT Tavaris Barnes)

No. 12: DB Korrin Wiggins

No. 16: TE Jordan Leggett

No. 18: DB Jadar Johnson (QB Cole Stoudt)

No. 20: S Jayron Kearse

No. 21: DB Adrian Baker

No. 25: DB Cordrea Tankersley (RB Roderick McDowell)

No. 29: DB Marcus Edmond

No. 31: DB Ryan Carter

No. 55: OL Tyrone Crowder (DL Roderick Byers)

No. 69: OL Maverick Morris

No. 80: WR Kyrin Priester

No. 82: ATH T.J. Green (WR Andrew Maass)

No. 85: DE Dane Rogers

No. 95: P Andy Teasdall ~ walk-on

And finally, here’s who’s no longer on the team since the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (not counting Hopkins and graduating seniors):

No. 29: CB Cortez Davis. Decided to transfer, a few reports were he was heading to Bethune Cookman, an FCS program in Daytona Beach whose online roster has not added Davis at this time.

No. 20: LB Lateek Townsend. This one’s a head-scratcher: he announced his intent to transfer in January, but his high school coach said in May he was hoping to return to the Tigers … but he’d have to do so as a walk-on trying to earn back his scholarship. (Don’t count on it.)

No. 8: LB Justin Parker. Knee injury ended his career. He’ll still be a student coach, according to a few reports out there.

No. 12: QB Tony McNeal. Torn ACL ended his career. He’ll still be a student coach, according to a few reports out there.

No. 15: QB Morgan Roberts. Transferred to Yale.

No. 71: DT Steven Young. I’ll try to track down why he’s in the 2013 media guide, but not on the online roster. You should read this story, though. **11:30 am UPDATE: Disregard. A school official said he’s still a part of the team, but is strangely not listed on the online roster. Continue rooting for a nice story.**

No. 61: OL Scott Wilson. Was on the season-ending roster, not the spring roster. Not sure what happened here. Doesn’t appear to have been on scholarship.

No. 85: DE Mario Marshall. Was on the season-ending roster, not the spring roster. Not sure what happened here. Doesn’t appear to have been on scholarship.

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