Preseason camp preview: 3-back

CUTigers.com's position by position preview is back to the offensive side of the ball for the 3-back position.

1. Dwayne Allen, RS Jr.
2010: The first-half of the season was a productive one for Allen. And though his statistics tapered off towards the end, he still put up solid numbers. In 765 snaps, Allen caught 33 passes for 373 yards and a touchdown. A second-team All-ACC selection, Allen was one of 22 midseason candidates for the John Mackey Award.

This spring: Allen learned that he will be utilized to the fullest extent by first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris. And that's a-OK with him. In the Orange and White game, he caught three passes for 43 yards and had the game's only receiving touchdown.

Heading into the fall: Not only Will Allen catch passes, he could also have a few carries out of the backfield. He will also lineup all over the place -- on the line as a traditional tight end, flexed out, split out wide and in the backfield.



2. Brandon Ford, RS Jr.
2010: Most of the season was spent transitioning from wide receiver to tight end. Formally he made the switch the week after the Auburn game. He finished with 10 catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Against South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, Ford had four catches for 45 yards and two scores.

This spring: Ford has continued to add size to his frame. He capped off the spring with one catch for 23 yards in the game.

Heading into the fall: He'll figure into many of the two tight end sets that Morris plans to use. Across the board, from snaps played to passes caught, Ford should build on the numbers that he put up a season ago.



3. Chad Diehl, RS Sr.
2010: Diehl had two carries for four yards and four receptions for 13 yards.

This spring: There wasn't much talk of using Diehl as a rusher and receiver during his senior season. But he continued to make his presence known as a devastating run blocker, and that is what he'll do once more this fall.

Heading into the fall: Like Ford, Diehl will have a role in the two tight end sets. he will be used more so as a blocker. Interestingy enough, CBS ranks Diehl as the No. 1 fullback prospect for next year's NFL Draft.



4. Eric MacLain, Fr.
2010: As a senior at Jack Britt High School in Hope Mills, N.C., MacLain hauled in 26 catches for 393 yards and six touchdowns. He participated in both the Shrine Bowl and Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.

This spring: Scout.com listed MacLain as the No. 9 tight end in the class of 2011. He was also rated as a four-star prospect.

Heading into the fall: MacLain is a borderline redshirt candidate. Though he's physically ready to play as a freshman, the experience ahead of him could dictate otherwise.



5. Sam Cooper, RS Fr.
2010: Cooper spent his first season at Clemson with a redshirt.

This spring: He put together a solid set of workouts but was unable to record a catch in the game.

Heading into the fall: Cooper, who will compete for time as a reserve, is not expected to push Allen or Ford for playing time with the first-unit. What Cooper's role as a reserve is could depend on what MacLain's status for the fall is.



6. Darrell Smith, RS So.
2010: Smith, a former defensive end, played 53 snaps as a tight end last fall, but did not record a catch.

This spring: He caught one pass for 17 yards in the game.

Heading into the fall: Like Cooper, Smith's role could depend on how MacLain is used. However, most of Smith's contributions this fall are likely to come on special teams.

CUTigers.com Top Stories