Clear has to Earn His Stripes

CLEMSON - At some point or another, in all phases and walks of life, everyone has to prove themselves. For some of us that might come two or three times during our life time.

WR Brandon Clear Profile

First as children, then as young adults and then as mature citizens in society – either at work or in our personal lives.

But imagine if you were Brandon Clear for a second.

Not that the Clemson wide receiver has it bad or anything. But imagine that you work your tail off your whole young life and earn a scholarship to play college football, and then find out you have to beat out the ACC's best overall receiver in Aaron Kelly or the fastest player in the country in Jacoby Ford just to see playing time.

CUTigers outlook: Clear has to prove his salt this spring and fall. There are no real plans the coaching staff has for him right now, other than to get him out there and work with him this spring and see how he competes.

Right now, he is just a freshman that has not done anything. He has the potential, but Clemson has a lot of good receivers that have played that the coaching staff are very confident with and know they understand the system.

Clear has a big learning curve and he has a ways to go to beat out one of the guys in front of him. The coaching staff knows he will show up and compete, but their biggest thing – they hope he will be able to compete with those guys this year, learn and grow as a player, and then have a chance to be a starter for the Tigers by his sophomore year.
Oh, by the way, there is still Mr. Reliable Tyler Grisham to try and hurdle as well as another guy named Rendrick Taylor who isn't too shabby either.

"There is only one ball," Clemson wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney said. "There is a process young players have to go through. They have to earn their stripes."

So far Brandon Clear, the twin of brother of defensive end Byron Clear, who also redshirted the 2007 season, is doing just that.

He was voted by the coaching staff as the scout team player of the year, and he has already added 10-pounds of muscle mass to his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame.

"He is a physical specimen," Swinney said. "He is an extremely explosive kid for his size. He showed a real knack for making the big plays down field in the opportunities I had the chance to work with him on our one-on-ones and those things."

Swinney says Brandon Clear has excellent hands, continues to improve, is raw, but has unlimited potential.

"We came close to playing him last year, but we are really glad we decided not to," Swinney said. Barring any injury, the coaches are hoping Clear will back up Kelly, but they also want to try him at a few other wide receiver spots to see if he can handle it mentally.

"It's just to try and give him the best opportunity to get on the field," Swinney said. "There are no real plans there, other than to get him going and to get his foundation built."

In high school, Clear set a solid foundation as a top 10 prospect in the State of Alabama at Hoover High School, where he earned all-region honors as a senior. A heavily recruited player, he chose Clemson over North Carolina State, Illinois, Syracuse, UCLA, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Northwestern.

"Right now if you are to ask what our plans are, it will be to get the ball to No. 1 (James Davis), 28 (C.J. Spiller), 6 (Ford), 13 (Grisham) and 80 (Kelly). You know, those guys," Swinney said with a smile. "But (Clear) is a young kid that has a lot of promise and has unlimited potential. I think he can be outstanding." Top Stories