Post-spring review: TE

Almost a full month removed from the Orange and White spring game, we're on to the tight ends in the post-spring review.

In the mix

Darrell Smith: Though Darrell Smith has been used more in a lead-blocking-fullback-type of role, he's part of the 3-back position group. In the 126 snaps Smith logged last season, he had just one touch, a catch for 1-yard.

Sam Cooper: The most experienced player at the position, Cooper was the first-team tight end before tearing his ACL in the first quarter of the spring game. Cooper's caught 11 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns during his career.

Stanton Seckinger: Seckinger was named the starter when the post-spring depth chart was released last month by Dabo Swinney. A former wide receiver, Seckinger caught four passes for 35 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt freshman in 2012.

Jay Jay McCullough: A running back at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, McCullough took a redshirt during his first season on campus. He has a skill set that's similar to Miami Dolphins TE/FB Charles Clay, who played for Chad Morris at Tulsa.

Jordan Leggett: Leggett, who was one of four freshmen to enroll in January, was one of the most pleasant surprises of the spring. With the injury to Cooper, he's now projected to avoid a redshirt this fall.

Joining the mix

Leggett would have fallen under the joining the mix category had he not stepped foot on campus in January. He was the only tight end signed in the 2013 haul. The Clemson coaches have plans to sign at least two more in the 2014 cycle.

Sam Cooper will be out for the first several games of the season after tearing his ACL.
Four-star Cannon Smith has been committed to Clemson since July. The Hammond School junior has since picked up an offer from Alabama.

Clemson is in very good shape for three-star Milan Richard, the top-rated tight end in Georgia. He'll announce his commitment on June 4. He's down to Clemson, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and South Carolina. The Tigers are figured to be the favorite.

Kevin Crosby, a rising senior at Bamberg-Ehrhardt, is also on the Clemson board as a tight end. He'll make a decision later this summer.

Key storyline

There's no positive way to spin it. The injury to Cooper hurts.

His 368 career snaps are more than the rest of the tight ends on the roster have combined to play -- same deal with his receptions, yards and touchdown catches.

Cooper, who underwent surgery on Friday, is also a solid blocker, so his absence will also felt in the running game.

Candidate to be a star

Given the amount of production that the tight end position has seen over the last four years, Cooper's name would have been listed in this space. But we'll have to look in another direction since he's going to miss a significant amount of time this fall.

Instead, Leggett will get the nod just ahead of Seckinger. Not only did he show well during spring practice, Leggett also put on about 10 pounds during his first few months on campus.

Both were impressive during the spring game.

Looking ahead to the fall

Seckinger is listed at 210 pounds. Swinney wants him to be at 230 by Aug. 31. He'll have more responsibilities as an in-line blocker, doing things that Cooper would have done. Smith will probably be used more in that kind of a capacity, too. Top Stories