The redshirt freshman from Minneapolis, Minn. sat and waited more than a year before he was allowed to take the field in Death Valley.
"I had a little bit of butterflies at the beginning," he said at the West End Zone on Monday. "I settled down as we started. I got more comfortable. It was tremendously fun— real fun."
McNeal also made his first two career catches for 34 yards in the 35-10 win over North Texas. Stats aside, he was happy to pick up the ‘W'.
"First and foremost, I wanted to make sure that we won. To win the opener is our goal," McNeal said. "Second of all, I had no [missed assignments]."
Wide receivers coach Jeff Scott liked what he saw from McNeal.
McNeal earned an 85 percent grade—a "pretty good" score for a player making his first appearance. But Scott cautioned against reading too much into the grade since McNeal didn't play all that many snaps.
"I was pleased with Bryce, as far as his assignments and executing. Playing in his first game, he did well," Scott said.
McNeal's first catch, a 30-yarder, came on a wheel route in the third quarter.
"Before, I remember coach [Dabo] Swinney trying to make sure what I had. I was like, ‘I've got—I've got it.' I just made sure I ran the right depth and [Kyle Parker] gave me a good ball," McNeal said.
One of eight receivers rotating in and out, McNeal played no more than 16 snaps. The Clemson offense ran just 46 plays.
"I'm just going to try and come out and make some more plays, continue to grow and be a part of the offense," McNeal said.
McNeal's nervous debut a success
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