Tigers like what they see in Jay

CLEMSON — There was a reason why J.K. Jay enrolled at Clemson seven months early. The Christ Church High School product felt he could help the Tigers eventually.

Not in his wildest dreams did the 6-foot-6, 285-pound offensive tackle think he would be helping Clemson just two months out of high school. But that's exactly what Jay has done through the first four practices of the spring.

The true freshman is currently working with the second and the third team as new offensive tackle coach Danny Pearman tries to create some depth at right tackle.

"All jobs are open," Pearman said following Monday's practice.

Jay is currently playing behind sophomore Landon Walker and senior Cory Lambert.

"I have been impressed with J.K. over on the right side," Pearman said. "He doesn't know what to do, but he has been trying to please me. It will be interesting to see how he finishes the spring, but he needs all the work he can get."

Jay, who was the No. 12 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com this year, is surprised he is working where he is right now.

"I'm just trying to learn the system basically and trying to learn what I'm supposed to do, and just play hard every play," the freshman said. "I'm surprised about where I'm working, but it is a goal of mine to play so I have to keep working hard.

"My goal is to learn the system and get better every day while making the guys in front of me and across from me better."

Pearman has been impressed with the raw skills Jay has shown in just the limited amount of time he has had to be coached.

Freshman J.K. Jay was Scout.com's No. 12 offensive tackle prospect in the nation for the 2009 recruiting class. (Roy Philpott)

"It is too early to tell," the Clemson coach said. "He has size and he doesn't know much about what we are trying to do scheme-wise, but the other day he did show he will come off the ball and hit people and I think that is where you start.

"That's a big start. He still makes a ton of errors and his technique is poor, but he has tried to compete for us the last couple of days out here."

Jay likes the fact he is getting to work with Pearman, and he feels that might be a plus for him as he continues to learn the system. Just like the rest of the tackles, he is learning the new blocking schemes for the first time too and that sort of puts him on an even page with the rest of the guys.

"It is an advantage having him come in at the same time, but it is a business and everyone has a new coach now," he said.

And from what he is seeing, Pearman likes what he sees in his new freshman tackle.

"I see enough good in him, and that's why I warrant working him extremely hard to see if he can help us," Pearman said. "There is enough good in him. He wants to please and he tries hard. That's going to come with time and he can't hurry that up.

"J.K. Jay is the kind of kid that wants to speed things up. That is a good thing, but when it comes to playing offensive line, it takes a little while. He is learning the tricks of the trade and he is fighting through that. But I like what I see."

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