5 Freshmen Ready to Contribute

The Clemson Tigers brought in several big time athletes in the 2002 recruiting class, but a only a privildedged few will be able to make the adjustment to the college game this fall. Today we take a look at 5 athletes that have the best chance to make an impact as true freshmen.

Making the adjustment from high school to college is never easy, but there are always those few guys that seem to be able to do it. Here is are look at the 5 freshmen we think will have the biggest impact on the Clemson program this season. It shouldn't surprise you that two out of the five are cornerbacks.

1. WR Tymere Zimmerman (6'4, 205, 4.5)
After spending year at Fork Union Prep, Ty Zimmerman will finally hit the practice fields in Clemson next week. His athleticism is unmatched, his passion for the game is inspiring, and the expectations placed on him are enormous. Simply put, Ty Zimmerman is the one freshman that we expect to have the biggest impact this fall.

"I am ready to run down the hill and I want to show people that I'm a good football player," said Zimmerman. "I want to play defense, but I don't think it will happen. Coach Bowden said I'll be a receiver."

Zimmerman wants to play defense because he likes to hit, but Tommy Bowden knows his value as a wide receiver. The former Marlboro County standout possesses all the tools to become the real deal this season. Speed, strength, the ability to catch the football in traffic, you name it- he's got it.

Zimmerman excels against top competition- the more you challenge him, the better he plays. And even with all the depth the Tigers have at wide reciever this season, he will crack the two deep depth chart before the first game at Georgia.

2. CB Larrey "Buddy" Williams (5'11, 180, 4.45)
After watching the defense this spring, and hearing the comments made by defensive coordinator John Lovett, you get the feeling that the Tigers' secondary is going to be vastly improved this season. Believe it, it will be- and one of the reasons why will be the arrival of two important freshmen- Buddy Williams and Justin Miller.

Williams enters next week's practice as one of the few freshmen on defense physically ready to compete. As a defensive back, he can already bench over 300 lbs, and he has legitimate 4.4 speed. "Tiger fans can expect hard hitting and 150% effort. I believe in playing every play as if the game was on the line," said Williams in a recent interview.

Buddy doesn't shy away from contact, and he can go up and the defend the pass with almost any receiver he matches up against. Simply put, he is a true cover corner that hits hard and runs fast. What more could you ask more?

3. CB Justin Miller (5'11, 185, 4.35)
Justin Miller is Mr. Do Everything, and if you talk to anyone that follows football in the state of Kentucky, you can understand why. Miller left the Bluegrass state as one of the top defensive backs in the southeast, and he's not afraid to talk to you about that either.

He's confident, he's ready, and he's lightning fast. "People should expect excitement and energy. I'm like Charles Woodson," Miller said in a recent interview.

Make no mistake, the high school All-American didn't come to Clemson to redshirt, and even though it is hard to make the adjustment to the college game as a defensive back, it can be done- and it usually is a guy like Justin Miller that does it. He has the right attitude, the right mindset, and all the physical tools to come in and overtake somebody on the depth chart at cornerback.

In fact, Miller very well could be the top defensive back brought into the Clemson program over the course of the last 5 years.

4. WR Kelvin Grant (6'2, 205, 4.4)
You've heard the old saying, "The rich just get richer." Well, that could not be any more true than with the Clemson wide receivers this season. The addition of Kelvin Grant just solidifies the receiving corps as one of the most talented in the country on paper.

Grant reminds a lot of people of another former Clemson wide out- Rod Gardner. He has the ability to go up and get the ball in traffic, he likes to get physical, and you can always count on him to make the big play. As the most polished receiver in the state last season, schools all across the southeast wanted his services, but in the end, he chose Clemson.

"During this whole recruiting process, I had to try and convince myself that I didn't want to go to Clemson. Obviously, if you have to convince yourself that you don't want to go somewhere, that's where you want to go," said Grant last February.

Grant will also have the chance to return kicks this fall, as he returned 5 kickoffs for touchdowns during his career at Camden.

5. P Cole Chason (6'0, 165)
Surprised that a kicker would make this list? Don't be. Cole Chason was signed this year for one reason, to compete with punter Wynn Kopp for the starting job. Last season, Chason had an average of 45.6 yards on his punts, and he also recorded 39 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs. His leg is as strong as they come, and if he does anything at all on the practice fields in early August, he'll see action in Athens.

"My goal is to win both the punting and kicking jobs. I will first get a shot at punting and kickoffs. If I do not get it, I will red-shirt," said Chason. Don't be surprised to see him overtake Kopp as the competition between the two will be one of the more intriguing battles in August.

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