Which Freshmen Will Play?

It's a big topic of conversation this time every year. Which freshmen will avoid a redshirt and become impact players?

#1. RB James Davis
For the last 15 years, Clemson fans have waited for a running back to take the football program back to the level it was during the late 1980's. Could James Davis finally be that player? While that may be too much to expect of a true freshman, Davis was the No. 1 ranked running back on the board for Clemson coaching staff last year, and in eyes of many, he has more potential than any other back signed since the days of Danny Ford. Even with a backfield that will return the likes of Reggie Merriweather and probably Duane Coleman, Davis figures to see playing time this year. The former Douglass High star is already on campus this summer.

#2. TE Durrell Barry
Pay close attention to Durrell Barry once practice gets started in early August. New offensive coordinator Rob Spence loves to incorporate the tight end into the passing game, and Barry may be the most athletic option at the position even as a freshman. Interestingly enough, Barry was also able to attend a good part of spring practice to get a head start on learning the offense. During the spring game, he commented, "I feel like I know all of the plays already."

#3. WR Rendrick Taylor
Clemson needs help at wide receiver and Taylor is the most physically gifted wide out of the 2005 recruiting class. He's big, he's physical, and he has the ability to go up and get the jump ball. That sort of downfield presence, which was missing last year, could be brought back by Taylor. "I'm just looking forward to practicing hard and I'm looking forward to the chance to play early," Taylor told CUTigers.com. Taylor, like James Davis and many other members of the 2005 recruiting class, has already reported to Clemson.

#4. WR Tyler Grisham
Again, the Tigers need to find another wide receiver who can contribute early in his career. Grisham is a gritty player with surprising speed. "I'm just looking forward to competing," he said in an interview with CUTigers.com earlier this year. "I just want to get there and work my way up the depth chart. I want to show that I am a pretty good football player." Grisham is also already on campus.

#5. LB Antonio Clay
The Tigers pulled one of the biggest surprises in the ACC on National Signing Day when Georgia native Antonio Clay elected to sign with Clemson instead of Oklahoma. With the loss of Leroy Hill, there will be an opportunity for a younger player to step in and make some noise on the two-deep depth chart. Could that player be Clay? Perhaps, and it certainly doesn't hurt that he trained under the same coach as Hill this spring. Clay has also already reported to Clemson.

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