Looking at the early eight

Over a week ago there was question as to whether or not Clemson would have all eight of their early entrants for spring practice.

Here is the second half of our two-part look at Clemson's eight early enrollees:

P Bradley Pinion
Pinion averaged 46.1 yards per punt and was named to the US Army All-American game. He became the first Clemson kicker signee to make a USA Today All-America team since Chris Gardocki in 1988.

"Bradley is 6-6 -- a giant -- and the ball just explodes off his foot," Swinney said. "We thought Pinion was the best punter out there. I think he'll come in and make an immediate impact for us."

Pinion, who was listed as the No. 6 kicker by Scout.com, figures to take over punting duties with the graduation of Dawson Zimmerman.

"We're losing Dawson, who's a very good punter, so to be able to get Pinion here in the spring - that's almost like being able to redshirt him," Swinney said.

OG Patrick Destefano
The former Dorman standout joins former teammates Charone Peake and Adam Humphries, who signed with Clemson in 2011.

Destefano was rated with three stars and ranked as the No. 19 offensive guard in the class of 2012.

"Destefano brings the right kind of mentality into our program. He's a winner and comes from a winning program and he's incredibly tough," Swinney said. "He wakes up every day thinking about football, and you can't have enough of that type of guy."

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound freshman who was an Under Armour All-American, could compete for playing time at guard with the departure of three seniors.

OT Oliver Jones
Clemson picked up a late July commitment from Jones, who was long considered a Clemson lean.

After missing his junior season with a knee injury, Jones bounced back for his senior season at Ninety-Six and was picked to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

"We think big Oliver Jones is a great prospect," Swinney said. "He's just now getting healthy again after battling through a knee surgery, but I'm excited about him."

Jones, a three-star and the No. 57 offensive tackle in the class of 2012, will have an opportunity to compete for a two-deep depth chart spot at tackle with the graduation of starters Landon Walker and Phillip Price.

DL Kevin Dodd
Dodd, who originally signed with Clemson in the 2011 class, was placed at Hargrave Military Academy during the fall.

As a senior at Riverside, Dodd finished the year with 78 tackles, 45 assists, 22 tackles for loss, including nine sacks, three caused fumbles, one recovered fumble and four passes broken up.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound freshman will compete for playing time along the defensive line at either tackle or end.

CUTigers.com Top Stories