Monday Spring Football Notebook

CLEMSON – Spring football practice offers players the chance to show the coaches how much they've improved and deserve to get more playing time. There's no question that tight end Michael Palmer has taken full advantage of that.

The rising sophomore has done nothing during these practices but make tight ends coach Billy Napier take constant notice and reassess his depth chart.

And to be honest, it really all started before spring practice even began.

"The best player we've got right now is Michael Palmer," Napier said. "He had a great off-season and put on about 15 pounds is around the 240 range. He's moving around better already this year than last year. It just goes to show you the benefit of buying into (strength and conditioning coach) Joey Batson's system."

His stellar play this spring and the back injury to Durrell Barry has made Palmer the team's best tight end. So much so that when Barry returns Friday from his injury, he will do so as second on the depth chart.

Napier said Palmer will be on the field at all times and that Barry will have to do something really special to overtake Palmer.

As of now, Palmer will be the starter in one-tight end sets, but will share some time with Barry. With two tight ends, Palmer will be at one spot, with Barry and Akeem Robinson sharing the other one. The three of them will be used in the three-tight end set.

"Palmer is really a good football player," Napier said. "He's a guy that takes the coaching and the system and does exactly what he's supposed to do. Seriously, he's a special kid."

SPILLER RETURNS: Rising sophomore running back C.J. Spiller was a practice Monday after returning from Florida to take deal with a speeding ticket in court.

He also attended his daughter's first birthday, but he said the speeding ticket that he got back in December was the main reason why he went back home and missed the scrimmage Saturday.

Spiller, who got his speeding ticket in Georgia near the Florida border, said he was clocked for doing 90 miles per hour in a 65 zone. He said the fine was $420 and that he has to return in three weeks to meet with the judge.

"Yeah, I was going a little too fast," he said. "The speed changed up on me and I didn't notice until I saw the state trooper. I thought he was going to pull somebody else until I seen him get behind me."

Spiller said he got to keep his license.

As for his daughter's birthday, he said she was a little irritable because she's teething.

As for all the rumors that start swirling every time he heads back home, Spiller said that's all they are.

"I know they're going to continue to go," he said. "I'm not really worried about those rumors."

QUICK HITS: Backup offensive guard Brandon Pilgrim hurt his elbow, but the specifics of the injury weren't released. … Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden said walk-on center Ben Ramsey has done a very good job and is now pushing starter Barry Humphries for playing time, although the gap is still somewhat significant.

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said the grading for the secondary in Saturday's scrimmage may have been the worst he's ever seen in all his years coaching. However, he did say Chris Chancellor graded in the high 90s. Everyone else was 70 or below.

Koenning said Byron Maxwell is in a real tight battle with Crezdon Butler for the starting cornerback spot opposite of Chancellor. … Bowden said it's still too close to call to determine the leaders for the punting and field goal kicking jobs.

CUTigers.com Top Stories