Clemson, SC –
While the focus of football coverage is usually on the star players, depth is just as important to winning championships. The best teams have competition throughout and players that fill certain roles on the field. Players can fly ‘under the radar’ for many reasons: low recruiting ranking, injuries, opportunity, and so on. Here are some players that don’t get tons of media coverage but will be important to the Tigers success in 2018.
- Adam Choice: While Etienne is the star of the backfield, redshirt senior Adam Choice brings a different skillset to the table. He is a compact ‘bowling ball’ type player that Clemson used as a red zone and closing-the-game back. Choice was the starter over Wayne Gallman before his injury in the 2014 season, but during his recovery Gallman became the true bell cow back. He was the current co-backup with Tavien Feaster on the post spring depth chart (last available). Choice could be the backup running back that spells Etienne throughout the game and the ‘closing pitcher’ that plays in the fourth quarter.
- JD Davis: He was listed as the starter at weak side linebacker coming out of spring – something that few would have predicted when he and his identical twin Judah Davis entered Clemson as two star recruits in 2015. He has played well throughout his career, including the Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama. He will be an excellent under the radar player either as a starter or as a first-off-the-bench-backup.
- Garrett Williams: While Garrett Williams has unfortunately suffered from multiple injuries during his time at Clemson, the redshirt junior stood out for his run blocking and work ethic since his freshman year. Despite missing 2017 with an ACL tear, he has bounced back to be named as co-starter coming out of spring with incumbent redshirt senior Milan Richard. With the lack of production from tight ends last year, Garrett has an excellent chance to win the job and possibly become a household name.
- Chase Brice: All of the discussion surrounds incumbent Kelly Bryant and true freshman Trevor Lawrence for good reason – they are one and two on the depth chart. However, don’t think that they are the only two quarterbacks that will play or matter this year. Chase Brice had a year to learn the offense as a redshirt last year, and he has an impressive resume (2016 GA 7A State Champ) and skillset of his own. He would start at many schools across the nation and had some excellent moments in the spring game along with inconsistency and three interceptions. While the chances he starts are slim, he will play often this year as arguably the best third string quarterback in the nation. If a disaster happens and both Bryant and Lawrence are injured (a la Ohio State 2014) – he has the potential to lead Clemson back to the playoffs.