Dabo Swinney welcomed 105 active Clemson football players to the first official team meeting of the preseason on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Swinney’s sixth Clemson squad met for nearly four hours with various department leaders of the program who gave orientation instructions to their specific areas.
The day started with the announcement that Clemson was ranked 16th in the preseason USA Today poll, the third consecutive year the Tigers have been ranked in the top 16 during the preseason. In each of the last three seasons Clemson has finished the year in the top 25, including a pair of top 10 finishes in the USA Today poll each of the last two years.
Swinney was pleased with what he saw on Thursday as far as physical condition is concerned. “I was very pleased with what I saw at the weigh-in,” said Swinney. “The players obviously worked hard during the off season. There were a lot of good weights:. Stanton Seckinger was 241, Tony Steward 238, Stephone Anthony 244, Jordan Leggett 251. The linemen looked good also. Joey Batson and his staff have done another outstanding job with our off season program.”
Clemson starting quarterback Cole Stoudt weighed in at 231, 20 pounds stronger than he was last year, while freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson was at 204, up 22 pounds from when he first came to Clemson in January.
All players were present and accounted for on Thursday, including freshman C.J. Fuller of Easley, S.C. who was attending his first team meeting. The running back will wear number-27 this year.
Swinney expects everyone ready for practice on Friday with the exception of Charone Peake, who had minor knee surgery last week. The wide receiver from Spartanburg, S.C, is expected to miss the first week of practice. “He will begin some straight on running tomorrow,” said Swinney.
The Tigers will begin practice at 6 p.m. on Friday afternoon, tied for the earliest first practice on the calendar. Clemson also began preseason practice on August 1 in 2008. The August 30 opener at Georgia will also tie for the earliest opener on the calendar in Clemson history. Clemson also played on August 30 in 2003 and 2008.
All preseason practices are closed to the public. Clemson will have Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday, August 17.