Back into the spotlight

CLEMSON - All day Sunday and Monday night wasn't enough for the NFL. The league had to go and add Thursday night games to its slate.

But that doesn't take away from the importance of Thursday night for the college boys, especially when one of the nation's top-ranked teams is on. Clemson and N.C. State will step under the spotlight next Thursday night and will be the only show on for college fanatics.

Adam Humphries made his Thursday night debut last year against Wake Forest. He played both wide receiver and cornerback for Clemson in that romp over the Demon Deacons.

This time, he'll stick to just the offensive side of the ball.

"Thursday night, you're really the only game on TV. Everyone is watching. You've got a lot of stuff to prove, to prove to the country that we are a top five team," Humphries said. "It's cool that we're the only team on TV playing."

Getting better all the time

The emergence of C.J. Davidson could turn into one of the better stories of the season.

If you don't know it by now, here's the nickel tour: Davidson ran track and played football at Daniel High School. He received football scholarship offers from TCU and Kentucky but opted to run track at Clemson. Thanks to some encouragement from high school teammate DeAndre Hopkins, Davidson decided to give up his track scholarship and walk-on to the football team.

Dabo Swinney filled in some more details earlier this week.

"I just started watching him last fall on scout team. I'm going, this guy, he didn't have a clue about anything, system-wise, but you can just see his athleticism," Swinney said. "I was impressed with his toughness and work ethic to a point where I wrote his name down about three different times to bring it up in the staff meetings.

"I started working him at corner. We all know we had lots of problems last year in the secondary, so I sent him, pretty much after the third or fourth, sent him with [Charlie Harbison to do DB drills."

Defensive back wasn't "very natural" for Davidson, so Swinney gave him the option to choose a position for spring practice.

"He was passionate about running back and really wanted to try that first," Swinney said. "I said, ‘It might be a little while before you play.' He said, ‘Coach, I'm patient. That's what I want to do.'"

The weapon at KOS

Rarely do kickoff specialists get brought up in the conversation of weapons on a football team. But when a guy is enjoying the kind of start that Bradley Pinion is off to, it makes sense.

Through two games, Pinion has kicked off 13 times. Twelve of those kickoffs were touchbacks. That percentage of 92.31 is highest in the country.

Pinion put in some serious work over the summer to improve in that area.

"I was hitting kickoffs good all summer long," he said. "I went to a bunch of camps over the summer. It really helped me with my getting through the ball and everything, so it would go out the back of the end zone every single time. I worked on my consistency with it."

His punts are bad either. Pinion is averaging 43.8 yards on 11 punts. That success, he said, is a credit to some good genetics.

"My grandpa was actually a good punter…I guess it was kind of natural, God-given ability," Pinion said.

Earl Mason, Pinion's grandfather, punted at Appalachian State and Wingate. He also had a try-out with the Cowboys. If Pinion keeps it up, he'll do more than just try-out for an NFL team.

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