Sapp Back at 100 Percent?

CLEMSON - The Tigers should welcome back a healthy Ricky Sapp into the starting line-up this week.

And it couldn't come at a better time.

With S.C. State coming to town Saturday afternoon in Death Valley, the Tigers need all the help they can get on their defensive line.

"I should be back to 90 percent, possibly close to 100 percent in time for the game this weekend," Sapp told after Wednesday's practice. "I've been full tilt all week baby."

Sapp, considered one of the key players on Clemson's defensive line to start the season, injured his knee back in the season opener against Alabama and ended up only seeing the field just 13 plays.

The following week he didn't play at all against The Citadel and last weekend he only saw 15 snaps for the Tigers' ACC opener against N.C. State.

To say Clemson's defense has suffered as a result would be an understatement. Through three games, the Tigers have just three sacks as a team and Sapp recorded one of those playing less than full strength against the Wolfpack.

Vic Koenning said of Sapp's absence, "It's been huge, huge huge."

With Sapp out of the line-up for most of the last two games, the Tigers have had just one true starter from last year's team in their front seven- including no linebackers and just one defensive lineman- Dorell Scott.

The end result has been painful to watch at times as the Tigers gave up an average of over 420 yards per game in total offense against Alabama and The Citadel, and almost 300 yards to lowly N.C. State.

With Sapp back in the mix, plus the improvement of several freshmen in the interior line, the Tigers are hoping for better things in the coming weeks.

"I feel like I got my speed back now so that should help us out," he said. "And I should be full go and starting this weekend and hopefully I can help bring back the pass rush and hopefully start making more plays."

ZIMMERMAN INJURY UPDATE: One of the oddest injuries of the season so far has to be that of freshman punter Dawson Zimmerman, who pulled his hamstring before Saturday's game against N.C. State even started.

"I pulled it warm-ups," he said. "It was really a fluke injury because I've never had something like that happen before. It's my plant leg, not my kicking leg."

Zimmerman said he could punt if he had to but that the injury forces his plant leg to remain on the ground, which would likely reduce the total distance of his punts.

"It's getting a little bit better," he said. "Today was the first day it showed improvement. We'll see how it goes the rest of the week."

Zimmerman started over redshirt senior Jimmy Maners for the first game of the year and punted well, including nailing a 50-yarder from his own goal line on his first career punt, before Maners reclaimed the starting spot the next week. Top Stories