5 redshirt freshmen worth watching

This has the potential to be one of those rare seasons where multiple redshirt freshmen make significant impacts with the Clemson football program.

Let's take a look at the top five worth watching:

#1. CB Mackensie Alexander
By now, you've heard of Alexander and what he could have meant to the team last year. After suffering a preseason groin injury, he was never healthy enough to see the field. As a result, one of the top signees from the 2013 class had to sit out the season. Alexander not only figures to see significant playing time against Georgia, he should start. There were players on the team last year that though he could have a Sammy Watkins-type impact on defense. Wow.

#2. RB Wayne Gallman
Without question, Gallman was the most effective running back on Clemson's roster by the end of the spring. Displaying great vision and toughness, he's often referred to by Clemson's coaching staff as being the Tigers' most violent runners. Perhaps because he played linebacker in high school, perhaps because he's hungry for playing time - regardless of the reason, this powerful back is poised for significant playing time - and could be a starter. If you're looking for a good bet on who will be Clemson's leading rusher this season - Gallman is it.

#3. RB Tyshon Dye
Like Alexander, Dye would have been a starter last season, however a back injury kept him out of action. Unfortunately, he also tore his Achilles this past February too. He's not expected to be 100 percent at the start of preseason camp, and the staff will work him back into the mix slowly, but he's got the potential to be an impact player sooner rather than later. Look for a late-September return that could provide a nice boost for the Tigers' offense.

#4. OG Tyrone Crowder
This massive offensive lineman was one of the crown jewels of the 2013 recruiting class, but with all of the experience returning up front a year ago, the staff made the right decision to redshirt him. Offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell told us last week Crowder is good enough to start, this year, which was semi-eye-opening, however chances are he'll be utilized in a reserve role most of the season. Crowder's acquisition 18 months ago represents a key shift in Clemson's talent in the trenches as the staff has brought some of the best talent of the last 25 years with recent commitments of Mitch Hyatt, Jake Frumorgen and Noah Green. Pencil in Crowder for around 200 snaps this year.

#5. OLB Dorian O'Daniel
Remember this guy? The four-star linebacker was rated as the No. 11 OLB by Scout.com when he committed to the Tigers in April 2012 and was as celebrated by Clemson fans as any of the Tigers' commitments at the time. He was bracketed with three other players at the nickel back/SAM LB spot exiting spring ball and figures to see the field a good bit this season. O'Daniel would likely see the field more if there weren't such a long-jam at the position, but count on the Maryland native seeing increased playing time as he matures in Tigertown.

CUTigers.com Top Stories