#1. DE DA'QUAN BOWERS
The nation's No. 2 overall prospect according to Scout.com for the 2008 recruiting class has been as good as advertised this spring. After enrolling at Clemson in January, Bowers has demonstrated a good grasp of the playbook and has quickly moved from the fourth team to a reserve role behind Kevin Alexander at strong side end.
With a good Orange & White game and preseason camp, it wouldn't be out of the question to see Bowers bracketed with Alexander on the first team for the season opener against Alabama.
Tommy Bowden said it best earlier this week when asked about his freshman standout, "He'll play. It's just a matter of whether it's going to be the eighth play or the first play. I've never had one look like that physically. He's got good flexibility, speed, acceleration and balance. It's not just the size. We've signed plenty of guys his size, but none with the skills he has."
#2. WR MARQUAN JONES
Jones has made plays all spring long, including catching a team-best eight passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns in Monday's scrimmage in Death Valley. Like Bowers, from a physical and mental stand point, Jones is ready to play and should be battling for a starting spot throughout the 2008 season.
He can catch the short pass, make a defender miss or get downfield and use his speed to get into the end zone.
"I'm looking forward to Saturday," said Jones. "We've got guys on the orange team talking trash and guys on the white team talking trash. It should be a lot of fun and from what I understand, that's really what this game is going to be about."
#3. RB RENDRICK TAYLOR
Taylor has had quite a spring, moving from wide receiver to linebacker to running back in the span of just four weeks. While the transition hasn't been easy, he finally appears to be comfortable in the offensive backfield, especially as a short-yardage back. Keep in mind, even though his blocking up front hasn't been exceptional, the 242-pound Taylor can still move the pile. And that's really all the offense needs.
On Saturday, Taylor, an internet legend among Clemson fans, will finally get the opportunity to showcase those running skills.
If all goes well, the Tigers may have found the short-yardage running back they've needed the last couple of seasons. In addition, if Taylor turns out to be a viable option in the backfield in August, that could allow the staff to strongly consider redshirting freshman running back Jamie Harper in the fall.
#4. OL MASON CLOY
While not the most glorified position on the team, the right guard spot will be critical in Clemson's offensive success next season. Cloy, who was once thought of as a center, has made some noise this spring as a guard and will be competing for a starting spot throughout the 2008 season.
Also, keep an eye on the other freshmen linemen, including Wilson Norris, David Smith and Landon Walker.
The offensive line is talented but very inexperienced. Having a player like Cloy or Smith solidify things in the interior will make all the difference in the world in the early part of the 2008 season.
#5. QB WILLY KORN
Korn has enjoyed being out of the spotlight this spring as he continues to work on his passing skills. On Saturday however, he should get a significant opportunity to showcase his skills as a passer and a runner. Adding some intrigue to the equation, Tommy Bowden hinted after Wednesday's practice there could be certain scenarios this fall that would allow Korn to see the field in meaningful situations.
Could Saturday be a preview of what Clemson's 10th year head coach is talking about? Probably not, but it will still be nice to see Korn on the field for the first time since the Furman game last year.
Also, the redshirt freshman is coming off of one of his toughest scrimmages on Monday since arriving at Clemson, so there's no question he would like to redeem himself with a strong showing Saturday.
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