Jay battling for playing time, right tackle

CLEMSON - Instead of worrying about who he was going to take to his senior prom or what beach he was going to ride down to with his friends, J.K. Jay traded the fun and sun of high school to tussle with guys like Da'Quan Bowers and Kourtnei Brown on the football field.

In doing so, however, the former Christ Church High School standout has put himself in position to maybe be a factor at right tackle when fall camp opens up in August.

"In fairness to him, he is a kid that should be worrying about his high school prom this month, instead he has been through winter training and spring practice," Clemson offensive tackles and tight ends coach Danny Pearman said. "He has handled most of it okay for a young man, but he is nowhere ready to help us play. Hopefully, by the fall we will see where he is at. Then I have to make the decision if he is the best guy and if so you have to realize there are going to be certain times when he is probably going to need a little bit of help."

Though Jay has a long way to go before he learns the offense, Pearman has been impressed with the 6-foot-6, 285-pound freshman's instincts and willingness to get after it.

"It is called intelligent recklessness, and he has some of it. That's what he brings to the table," Pearman said. "Now off the field he is a fantastic person, but on the field he likes to play and he likes football. I wish we had more of them that like football like that, that like working at it, that like being good at it and make it important to them.

"Being good is important to him."

And that's why Jay is still in contention to see playing time at right tackle. Though there is talk about possibly moving Jay to left tackle to help provide some depth there, Pearman says he cannot make that move until he knows either Landon Walker or Cory Lambert have separated themselves enough to be the starter.

"I will not move him unless there is a guy that is so far ahead of him at right, and right now I do not see that," Pearman said. "I'm going to let J.K. battle right where he is at. He may or may not (play), but he is working hard for us."

As for the right tackle battle, Pearman sees it going right up until kickoff on Sept. 5.

"I think that is going to be an ongoing battle. I think that is going to be going on up until game day before we make a decision there," he said. "Landon Walker, Cory Lambert and J.K. Jay will be in it."

And that's why Jay wasn't worried about going to the prom so much this spring.

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