Isaiah Battle has never been the most consistent performer on the Clemson football team, but he certainly has the tools to be a special left tackle. Battle, a 6-foot-7, 290-pounder, has played in more than 1,300 snaps in 15 starts during his career. He made 11 of those starts in 2014 and was named the team’s co-offensive player of the game in the win over South Carolina.
With his athletic ability, Battle certainly can play at the next level, but he needs to have a consistent senior season to move up in the draft focus of NFL teams. That starts with this spring. A solid spring, and showing some consistent leadership, can get Battle off to a strong senior season.
Ryan Norton has played in 38 games in his career, including 24 starts. He made 11 starts last year and is heading into his senior season.
Tyrone Crowder made one start in his redshirt freshman season and will be a key player as a sophomore at guard. Crowder is one to watch this spring as coaches praised him throughout last season. His physical play (he’s 6-2, 330 pounds) is something this team needs from its offensive line, and he will get a chance to show that this spring.
Eric Mac Lain (one start in 2014) and Joe Gore (three starts in 2014) are going to be seniors in 2015.
The special ones
This is the group Clemson fans can’t wait to see this spring, the four offensive linemen who enrolled early in January and will get an early start to their Clemson careers. And what a group it is.
Jake Fruhmorgen (6-5, 285) played in the U.S. Army All-American game. Noah Green (6-5, 275) played in the Shrine Bowl and the Semper Fidelis All-American game. Mitch Hyatt (6-6, 270) played in the U.S. Army All-American game. Zach Giella (6-5, 275) played in the Semper Fidelis All-American game.
There is playing time right there for those four to earn, and that starts with this spring as they get out on the practice fields for the first time in their careers.
They have a real chance to do something special in their careers, and enrolling early and going through this year’s spring practice could be huge to getting that jumpstarted.
And this team needs them to do just that. One area this program has lacked in recent years has been short-yardage, physical play by its offensive line. These four can help turn that around.
Taylor Hearn, Justin Falcinelli and Lake Kirven (a former walk-on) all redshirted in 2014 and will look to get into the rotation this spring. Falcinelli has received heaps of praise from the staff for his potential and figures to enter the two-deep rotation next month.
Oliver Jones, played in two games in 2013 but suffered a torn ACL in 2014, while Maverick Morris played in four games last season.
Key stat: Norton has played in 1,855 snaps in his Clemson career.
Spring breakdown, OL
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