Just living the dream

CLEMSON - Somebody might need to go ahead and pinch Jay Guillermo, because he has to be dreaming.

The former three-star center prospect from Maryville, Tenn. was offered by Clemson on signing day in 2011. Not even a week later he was the first commitment to the 2012 class. It was a no brainer.

Now, a redshirt freshman, Guillermo is happily living his dream.

"It's amazing. I never thought, even two, three years ago that I would be sitting in this seat that I am now," he said. "So it's definitely a blessing. I've got to thank the good Lord for it. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be playing for the Clemson Tigers."

Listed as the backup center behind Ryan Norton, Guillermo has played mostly in mop up duty this season. After logging 48 snaps against Virginia, his season total is now up to 166.

More playing time would be nice, but Guillermo understands his role.

"As a backup, you never want to see anyone get hurt on your team, but you always kind of hope for an opportunity, just in some form or fashion," Guillermo said. "Whenever you get to go into the game as a backup, it's a good opportunity."

For a guy who spent most of his football life on the field it's been quite an adjustment.

"It's tough. There's not much time being spent on the sidelines, but you just have to take it as a learning opportunity and something that drives you," he said. "Because, obviously -- you can ask anyone -- it doesn't feel good to sit on the sidelines. That's something that you wake up every morning and it kind of drives you to do the best that you can everyday."

Staying in the right frame of mind is the key for a reserve.

"You have to go in with the mindset that it's just any other day in practice," Guillermo said. "You go hard in practice just preparing for your opportunity, so it is difficult. You try to not get in there and have your head explode."

He added, "That's one good thing with coach [Robbie] Caldwell and coach [Chad] Morris is they do a great job of having you prepared at any point in time, because you don't know what's going to happen."

With pending departure of two starters, left tackle Brandon Thomas and right guard Tyler Shatley, there will be plenty of change along the offensive line in 2014. Whether or not that means a change in position for Guillermo is still up in the air.

"As coach [Dabo] Swinney and coach Caldwell say, the best five will play. If they ask me to step at guard, that will be fine with me," Guillermo said. "I can't speak for him, but I'm sure Ryan feels the same way. We've talked about it. We both want to play, obviously, but wherever they tell me to play. It's where I'll go."

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