Swinney: "Ogren has All the Tools"

CLEMSON - Jeff Ogren is not your typical Division I football player. He didn't grow up playing the sport or dream about being the next great one. In fact, he's better at another sport.

Ogren, a freshman receiver who enrolled at Clemson in January, didn't take up the game of football until he was in high school. He spent a lot of his time playing golf, where he boasts a scratch handicap.

But in his short time on the gridiron, he has come a long way. So much so that Tigers wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney can't wait to see how much more the Alabama native will improve with extensive coaching.

"He definitely has all the tools," Swinney said. "It's just that we've got a lot of teaching to do. I can't wait to get my hands on him this spring."

Swinney said Ogren needs to learn the fundamentals of running proper routes, getting off the line of scrimmage and making sharp cuts.

"He got into football late because he was a home-schooled kid up until the ninth or 10th grade," Swinney said. "Then he started playing football and was pretty good. He's an exciting guy to have in our program because of all of the upside that he has. We're excited about him and think he'll be a good fit for what we do."

As a senior this past season at American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Ogren, who stands nearly 6-foot-3 and weighs 187 pounds, caught 62 passes for 1,325 yards and 18 touchdowns. Of course, it helped that he had star quarterback Chris Smelley throwing to him. Nonetheless, the numbers are still eye catching, regardless of who is throwing the ball.

"He's put up huge, huge numbers the last couple of years playing at a small school," Swinney said. "The first time I saw him was at the Alabama combine and he really caught my eye there because he was the fastest kid there out of all 200-and-something kids from across the state.

"He's got a nice body. He's got nice size and range to him. But the fact that he can really run and has really strong hands just kind of caught my eye at the combine. Then when we got a couple of days to spend with him in camp, I was sold on him, as well as the other coaches."

It's uncertain whether or not Ogren will redshirt the 2006 season.

"That's really up to him," Swinney said. "He's going to have to beat some guys out. This year we really have a lot of talent at those positions so he's going to have to beat some of those guys out.

"He'll probably start out over there at the ‘X' position with Aaron Kelly. He will definitely have an opportunity, especially with him being here this spring. It's just going to depend on how far he can come mentally. Physically, I think he's definitely ready. The question is, where will he be mentally come time when we kickoff. He has a good chance because he's here, and that helps him."

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