The redshirt freshman from Pelion (S.C.) came along faster than anyone thought possible and by the end of the spring moved into a tie with redshirt sophomore Mason Cloy for the starting job.
When you throw in Thomas Austin and then the return of Barry Humphries
this fall, the Tigers will have four very serviceable centers, something
that could not be said last year when injuries decimated the offensive
line and exposed Clemson's weakness. Former player-coach Bobby Hutchinson
hung up the whistle on his coaching career for a little while longer and
put back on the pads to help, and did a respectable job at the end of the
year. But Clemson had to make adjustments with its blocking schemes
because of its deficiencies at that position.
"You never get too excited in the spring, but I feel better," Clemson
guards and centers coach Brad Scott said. "I am proud of their effort. We
ran the ball a little bit better and we were a little more physical."
With Cloy and Freeman spending the majority of their time at center in the
spring, the Tigers should be in better shape both from a skills standpoint
and from a depth standpoint heading into fall camp.
Mason Cloy (6-foot-3, 310, redshirt sophomore, Columbia, S.C.)
About: Was a first-team freshman all-American by
Collegefootballnews.com. He finished second on the team in knockdown
blocks with 57 and his average grade of 72.2 was fourth on the team. He
started 12 games at guard and his 660 snaps were third on the team and one
of the highest marks recorded by a freshman in school history.
The positives: Cloy is a year older and has a little bit more
confidence. When linemen are a little older and more mature it means they
react a lot better. When they are not sure of themselves, they play a
little slow. He has spent the entire spring learning the blocking calls
and learning how to read defenses. Comes off the ball well and technique
is fundamentally sound.
The negatives: He is inconsistent and gets beat too much by fast
and athletic defensive tackles. He needs to improve his feet.
Dalton Freeman (6-foot-4, 270, redshirt freshman, Pelion, S.C.)
About: Rated as the 13th best offensive guard in the country
coming out of high school by Scout.com and was a three-time all-state,
all-region and all-area selection. The South Carolina Offensive Lineman of
the Year his senior year, recorded 67 knockdown blocks and 37 pancake
The positives: Freeman had a great spring and has worked his way
very much into the mix. The center position is up for grabs now between
him and Cloy. He comes off the ball extremely fast and is very technique
sound. He is also a very smart player and is a quick learner.
The negatives: He has improved his work habits, but coaches would
still like to see him continue to get better. He also needs to continue to
get stronger. Because he is a redshirt freshman, his overall knowledge of
the offense and the blocking schemes are limited as compared to Cloy.
Post spring insider: Center
CUTigers.com Top Stories
Inside the Matchup: Clemson vs Florida StateThe Tigers and Seminoles face off with CFP implications on the line
Scout CFBYesterday at 11:11 AM
TUESDAY DABO PC AND INTERVIEWSCUTigers was at the Clemson West Zone on Tuesday for Dabo Swinney's weekly press conference and interviews with Brent Venables, Christian Wilkins, Jadar Johnson and Kendall Joesph.
CUTigers.comTuesday at 12:00 PM
Updated Scout 300 Trend Meter For 2017The updated Scout 300 Trend Meter for the 2017 class takes a look at which schools are trending for each uncommitted member in the Scout 300.
Scout FootballTuesday at 5:40 AM
RECRUITING RADARIn our weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!
CUTigers.comMonday at 3:20 PM