HARPER, ELLINGTON IMPRESSIVE: If Clemson isn't already known as Running Back U. with two potential first day ground-gainers in next year's draft, it may be soon with two more highly touted freshmen on campus in Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington.
Harper was ranked by Scout.com as the No. 5 running back in the nation and was also rated five stars, while Ellington was also a top 30 back and was rated four stars.
Not surprisingly, both first-year players looked impressive Friday.
"He's big and he's fast," James Davis said of Harper. "We were teasing him because he looked so big wearing No. 45 so he switched to No. 8 after talking to the coaches before practice. But you can tell he's going to play this year. When he gets the ball he gets it rolling.
"He's a different kind of running back."
"He looked great. He's very athletic," he said. "He's still has to learn the offense but he came from the Wing-T like I did so I'm going to be able to help him out with that move. But him and Andre Ellington looked great.
"Both of those guys are as talented as me and James. And they are going to help us win some games."
Harper, who has been somewhat low-key since his arrival on campus more than a month ago, remained that way after the first official practice of his college career.
"I have to admit I was a little anxious," he said. " I was ready to get on the field. Once we got into the practice I had a chance to kind of learn everything behind two great veterans. I am just going to learn the process as I go."
Both Harper and Ellington are expected to avoid redshirts this year.
CREATIVITY FROM THE STALLION PACKAGE? Fans were introduced to Clemson's stallion package last year for the first time, and while it was hyped coming out of preseason camp, it never amounted to anything more than James Davis or C.J. Spiller taking a direct snap and usually running straight up field.
Unlike the Wildcat Formation at Arkansas featuring Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, not one pass was thrown by Davis or Spiller all year.
According to Davis, that should change in 2008.
"It's coming," he said. "Me and Coach Spence have talked a lot about it. You just have to wait and see because it's going to be when you least expect it. But when I complete my first pass, you are going to see it more."
In case you were wondering, McFadden completed 6-of-11 passes last year for 123 yards and four touchdowns. Also in 2006, he completed 7-of-9 passes for 69 yards and another three scores.
"We're going to do it," he said. "It's just going to happen when you least expect it."
YES, HE'S INTENSE: One conversation with freshman tackle Antoine McClain leaves little doubt this is a kid who is as focused as anybody on the team.
McClain, the No. 9 offensive tackle in the nation according to Scout.com in the class of 2008, signed with the Tigers over both of his home state schools of Auburn and Alabama. Clemson, of course, plays Alabama in just 29 days in the Georgia Dome.
You'd think a freshman lineman in store for early playing time would be eager to talk about the much-anticipated matchup of playing against his home team.
"I don't even want to talk about that because it's too early but it would mean a lot and I'll leave it at that," McClain said.
The former four-star standout is currently playing behind Cory Lambert at right tackle and will likely figure in the rotation early in the season. Again, don't tell that to him.
"I have to get on the same page as the rest of my team as far as staying onside and if I get my plays right and my mind right I should be able to [play as a freshman]. But I'm not even thinking about that right now. There was a lot thrown at me today," he said.
BOWDEN SAID: Tommy Bowden met with reporters before and after practice Friday. He said of the three hour session, "It was pretty good. It was what you call installation. We were installing a lot of the offense. Then you have some young guys out there for the first time and a little bit of rust from the spring. I thought we did a lot of good things. We had a couple of interceptions in the skeletons. Crezdon Butler and Jeremy Campbell had interceptions."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's fine for us to talk about a National Championship. We have positioned ourselves to get to a BCS bowl. We are in a great position we just can't look ahead. It's one day at a time and Alabama is first. The problem in the past has been we've always started to look ahead and we know we can't do that this year." - C.J. Spiller.
QUICK HITS: Redshirt senior offensive lineman Bobby Hutchinson is now a player/coach and did not dress out with the team Friday. Sports Information Direction Tim Bourret said Hutchinson still counts against the 85 scholarship limit and could play if needed. The Tigers return to the practice fields tomorrow afternoon at 4:30. All practices are closed to the public.
DAY ONE: Clemson Football Insider
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