Over the last few seasons, the tight end has been an essential part of the Tigers' offense, not only for production, but also from a leadership standpoint.
Michael Palmer, who set a then single-season school record 43 receptions
for 507 yards and four scores, started the trend in 2009. He's entering
his third season with the Atlanta Falcons.
Dwayne Allen picked up where Palmer left off by finishing his three-year
career with 93 receptions and 12 touchdowns, which tied the Clemson career
record for a tight end. He won the Mackey Award and was named an
All-American in 2011.
With Allen set to join Palmer in the NFL, it's Brandon Ford's turn to lead
and produce results.
"It's more of a leadership, getting the younger guys ready," Ford said.
"Now, the younger guys expect me to just lead and makes sure those guys
take it from you. You don't want them going out there and thinking they
can't do it. You just want to be that leader and show them.
"In the game, they're counting on you to do your job. Right now, I'm just
practicing hard and getting the younger guys ready."
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound redshirt senior has 25 catches for 248 yards and
four touchdowns during his career.
Now, Ford noted, it's time for him to show more consistency.
"Not just catching the ball -- in the run game as well and getting to play
every play, not just three plays and I'm tired," he said. "Just being more
consistent like Dwayne was. The guy played like 60-80 snaps [a game] last
year. I'm trying to work myself right there."
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney believes Ford could be on his way
to a career in the NFL.
"I think this is his year. When this thing's over, if he does what he's
capable of doing, he's another guy who has a chance to go play on the next
level," Swinney said.
Ford, who played wide receiver before moving to tight end in 2010, was
rated by Scout.com as the No. 64 wide receiver in the class of
"Brandon was a tweener. Now he's a 240-pound guy who has got great ball
skills and has made a ton of progress," Swinney said.
The tight end trend
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