Freshman LB May Avoid Redshirt

CLEMSON – With only a week left until the season's first game, the Clemson football coaching staff is trying to figure out which freshmen will redshirt and who will play. CUTigers.com has some of the answers.

Offensively, it's pretty obvious that tailback C.J. Spiller, receiver Jacoby Ford and tight end Michael Palmer will play.

Defensively, however, there are still some questions.

It's widely known that Bandit Ricky Sapp will play, but the status of fellow end Jamie Cumbie wasn't determined until Thursday.

"I'm just going go ahead and ease Cumbie in there and play him," defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said. "We're going to keep easing him along. As of today, that's the plan. That's what we talked about with Coach (Tommy) Bowden today."

Another freshman that falls into that category is cornerback Crezdon Butler. Early, it was thought that he might redshirt. Now, he's going to play some, with most of his time coming on special teams.

One surprise freshman that may not redshirt is linebacker Kevin Alexander, who is playing Will and some Mike linebacker.

"We still have some dialogue left with him and his dad to see what they want exactly and let them kind of dictate that because that's the fair way to be," Koenning said. "It has to be their decision, but we'll give them our opinion.

"You could force them, but then we'd be going against what we told people when we recruited them. I'm not doing that unless it completely hurts the team."

As of now, Sam linebacker Jeremy Campbell will redshirt. However, Koenning said that could change rather quickly. He also believes that if given a shot, Campbell could compete for ample playing time.

But Koenning and Bowden believe Campbell would be better served, as is the case with most freshmen, to play as a fifth-year senior.

CUTigers.com has learned that another freshman that is being scheduled to redshirt is punter/kicker Richard Jackson. It was believed he would challenge for the punting and kickoff job.

However, with Jimmy Maners and Cole Chason each doing well, the belief is they won't need Jackson this year as a punter. He is being tabbed as the placekicker for next season.

Quick hits
Sam linebacker Maurice Nelson said he and Antonio Clay split reps with the first team during practice Thursday. … Defensive line coach Chris Rumph said Dorell Scott practiced for the first time in a while Thursday and that redshirt sophomore looked good. "He looked like he hadn't missed a step," he said. …

Middle linebacker Anthony Waters won't be with the team Friday so he can attend the funeral of Ronald Sampson, Jr., who is the younger brother of a very good friend of his.

Sampson, the starting quarterback of the Lake View High football team and a star baseball player, died last Saturday when a tire blew out on the vehicle driven by his mother.

"He was the best athlete ever to be in Lake View and he was a real good kid," Waters said. "It's a sad thing. I just want to be there for my friend." …

Sapp, who is eating six meals a day, gained so much weight so fast that he injured himself. He came to Clemson weighing 217 pounds and he now weighs 231.

"I actually had back problem because I gained eight pounds real quick and my body wasn't used to it," he said. "But my back is good now and I'm still the same speed."

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