Stock on the rise

In the first of a two-part series, we take a look at the players on the offensive side of the ball that had bullish performances this spring.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Jr.
The local legend affectionately known as "Nuk" was named the most improved wide receiver by the Clemson coaching staff before the spring game. Hopkins had game-highs with seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Hopkins has finally been able to enjoy a full offseason of nothing but football. Before this winter, that had never really been the case. Hopkins, who used to spend that time of year on the basketball court, also played basketball for the Tigers as a freshman.

It's no wonder he made such great strides this spring. The scary part: there's only one other wide receiver in conference history that's done what he has during his first two seasons.

Hopkins and former Clemson wide receiver Derrick Hamilton are the only two players in ACC history with at least 50 receptions in each of his first two seasons.

QB Morgan Roberts, RS Fr.

Morgan Roberts is currently listed at No. 3 on the quarterback depth chart.(Hale McGranahan)
Is the third-string quarterback really on the stock up list? Yes, indeed he is.

Roberts' name first surfaced around the halfway point of the spring when Chad Morris and Dabo Swinney made it known that Cole Stoudt wasn't a shoe-in for the second-team job. Maybe that was, in part, a motivating tool for Stoudt. Or maybe it wasn't.

In the annual Orange and White spring game, Roberts and Stoudt split reps on the Orange team. Roberts completed 14 of 24 passes for 149 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 35 yards and six carries.

Roberts originally committed to Clemson as a greyshirt but was awarded a full scholarship prior to the 2011 season. The former two-star edged out fellow 2011 signee Tony McNeal for the third-team spot. Roberts had already earned the spot before McNeal's ACL tear during the spring game.

Before the spring game, Roberts was named most improved quarterback by the Clemson coaches.

TE Stanton Seckinger, RS Fr.
Like Roberts, Seckinger originally committed to Clemson as a greyshirt prospect. Also like Roberts, Seckinger was awarded a full scholarship before the start of the 2011 season.

Morris thinks Seckinger could eventually develop into a player who is physically comparable Brandon Ford. Like Ford, Seckinger originally signed as a wide receiver.

And we'll give ourselves a good, old-fashioned pat on the back. Seckinger's move from wide receiver to tight end was one we figured would happen. But who didn't see that coming?

This spring's position switch helped Seckinger get a head start on learning the position over 2012 signee Jay Jay McCullough, who will enroll later this summer.


Brandon Thomas ended last season as the starter at left guard. He'll start the upcoming season at left tackle.(Hale McGranahan)
LT Brandon Thomas, RS Jr.
There was a time -- not all that long ago -- when Thomas was so deep in Swinney's doghouse that he couldn't see the light of day.

Thomas emerged last season, playing a majority of the left guard snaps. He also served as the backup at left tackle behind Phillip Price.

Prior to the start of spring practice, Swinney named Thomas as one of the top performers during winter workouts. Thomas carried that over to the field and took a firm hold of the left tackle job.

If either Shaq Anthony or Isaiah Battle is able to emerge, Thomas can kick back inside to left guard, where Kalon Davis is listed as the starter.

RT Gifford Timothy, RS So.
Several folks figured Joe Gore would emerge as the starter at right tackle by the time spring ball came to a close.

Timothy, a two-star signee out of Delaware, was a little too inconsistent for the coaches' comfort this spring, but he was good enough to take hold of the starting right tackle job. Four months from the season opener in the Georgia Dome against Auburn, it's his to lose.

The post-spring depth chart lists Timothy at 6-foot-6, 315 pounds. Gore is just as tall, but he tips the scales at 260.

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