CUTigers Spring Blitz: TEs

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris must find a replacement for Dwayne Allen, the best tight end in the country last season, who is now preparing for the NFL Draft.

1-Brandon Ford
2-Sam Cooper
3-Darrell Smith
4-Eric MacLain

2011 Stats (Returning)
Ford - 14 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns
Cooper - 1 catch for 18 yards

Unit Ranking: C
Despite the losses of Allen and Chad Diehl, Clemson has a solid returning option with Ford, who will serve as one of the team's top leaders in 2012.

The overall unit ranking would be higher if the group had a little more production. Cooper, who played mostly in special packages last season, is the only other player at the position with a catch in 2011.

Smith has worked primarily on special teams during his career and MacLain is coming off his redshirt freshman season.

Brandon Ford figures to be an emerging star in Clemson's offense now that Dwayne Allen has moved on to the NFL. (Getty Images)

Your turn, B-Ford

A former wide receiver, Ford was converted to tight end during the 2010 season. Though he wasn't too productive during that first season at tight end, Ford made a name for himself in the Meineke Car Care Bowl when he had two touchdown catches.

Ford carried that over into the 2011 season and had the most productive season of his career. He should build on those numbers in 2012 now that Allen has moved on to the NFL.

Not only will Ford be leaned on to be a bigger threat in the offense, he will also be a vocal presence in the locker room.

Who's next?

It's a little murky behind Ford, but there is talent. Cooper and MacLain have the skill set to be quality tight ends. The only problem is, they don't exactly fit the mold of how Morris uses the position.

Incoming freshman Jay Jay McCullough is a closer fit to the 3-back position than Cooper and MacLain, and Ford, too.

Spring predictions

-Cooper moves into the backup spot
-MacLain isn't far behind Top Stories