Clemson opened Spring practice on Friday on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. It was the first of 15 practices for Dabo Swinney’s team. The spring practice sessions will conclude on April 9 with the annual spring game at Memorial Stadium at 4:00 PM.
It was the first practice for the Tigers offense under new offensive coordinator Chad Morris. The Tigers had a brisk 22-period practice that concluded at 6:20 PM.
“I am excited about getting started,” said Swinney, who is in his third full season as Clemson’s head coach. “We have had a good off season, but today we were able to get everyone on the practice field. It is a fresh start, a new beginning.
The team that Swinney is coaching right now will have many new additions in the fall. The Tigers signed 29 players on February 2 and four of them have already enrolled in school.
One veteran player not going through spring practice is running back Andre Ellington. As a sophomore, Ellington had four 100-yard rushing games within the first seven games and was 10th in the nation in scoring when he suffered a toe injury at Boston College. He is doing well in his recovery, but will sit out spring practice.
“Andre will start running on the side on Monday and is making very good progress,” said Swinney. “He is a difference maker. But, his absence will give others an opportunity to show us something.” Those players are Roderick McDowell, who was Clemson’s third leading rusher last year, and freshman red-shirts D.J. Howard and Demont Buice.
Swinney was pleased with what he saw on Friday. “It was a very good first practice. The players were in good condition and there was a lot of enthusiasm. There was a lot of teaching and a lot of learning.
One of the players at practice was top receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is also playing on the Clemson basketball team this winter. “Nuke will be at all of our football practices. He will dress for the basketball game on Saturday (vs. Virginia Tech), but next week when the team goes to the ACC Tournament he will be with us for football practice.”