Biding his time, in a hurry

CLEMSON - The redshirt life for freshman wide receiver Joe Craig is approaching its end. And he's excited about what the future has in store.

In the meantime, he's one of several freshmen that are participating in jayvee practice, the periods at the end of bowl practice scheduled for redshirts and reserves.

Craig is "most definitely" pleased with his performance in jayvee practice this week.

But he doesn't mind the scout team role.

"I don't mind going out here running scout team and making the defense better," Craig said. "As long as we get the team better, push together and come together as a family, I'll do whatever it takes.

"It doesn't matter if I've got to play line. I'll do what it takes to make the team better."

Fat chance.

The speedster from Gaffney arrived to Clemson earlier this summer at 155 pounds. Since then, he's beefed up to 165.

Craig insisted that the extra weight hasn't slowed him down.

"Coach [Joey] Batson, he put us through speed work outs," he said. "It makes me feel like I've gotten a little bit faster."

It would be easy to liken Craig to former Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who's now playing for the Oakland Raiders.

Ford, like Craig, was a track guy with a ton of speed.

"He's fast like Jacoby," said head coach Dabo Swinney, "But he plays faster on the football field than Jacoby did, especially at this stage.

"I would say Joe is much further ahead than where Jacoby was, at this stage. Jacoby did not play very fast early on. Obviously, he ended up that way, but Joe is very natural. He is cat-quick and has good hands."

Swinney believes Craig is a combination of Ford and former Tiger Chansi Stuckey, who's playing for the Cleveland Browns.

"Chansi had a great knack for playing in that slot—played very fast," Swinney said. "That's what you see with Joe. Joe is on you in a hurry. He's quick in and out of his cuts."

After the bowl game, Craig plans to follow in Ford's footsteps and get his Clemson track career started.

"I've been coming to practice and watching them. I can't participate, but I've been watching them, getting a feel for it," he said. "They want me to take a week off after the bowl. I'm ready to get into track. The day after we come back, I'm going straight to the track."

Craig would like to run the 60-meter, 200 and the 4x100 relay during indoor season. For outdoor, he'd hopes the 100, 200 and 4x100, and maybe the 4x400 are his events.

His goals are lofty.

"I definitely want to make freshman All-American. If I could, I want to make it to the NCAA finals," Craig said.


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