Posted on: March 6, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 4:43 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Clemson linebacker Tony Steward had his request for a medical redshirt from the NCAA denied last week, according to Tigers' head coach Dabo Swinney.
Swinney met with the media on Tuesday to discuss several team issues heading into Wednesday's opening of spring practice, and called the NCAA's decision "a shame."
A five-star prospect coming out of high school, Steward was one of the many true freshman to contribute immediately for the Tigers, but his action was cut short by a torn ACL in the fifth game. NCAA rules allow for players to redshirt for medical reason if they had played in 30 percent or fewer of the team's games in a season. While the fifth game put the sophomore linebacker over the limit, the school hoped only playing 36 snaps in those games would result in an exception.
Steward is still recovering from successful knee surgery to repair the damage, and will miss all of Clemson's spring practice. He is expected to be fully cleared to participate in team activities in May.
Another member of that same recruiting class will be returning to practice on Wednesday: sophomore running back Mike Bellamy. Bellamy showed bursts of potential during his freshman campaign, but the on-field time was reportedly limited by off-field conduct and attitude issues.
Bellamy received criticism from the coaching staff during the season, and was suspended indefinitely for violation of a team rule before the ACC title game in December.
"[Bellamy has] been doing OK," Swinney said on Tuesday. "This is a big spring for him."
Starting running back Andre Ellington returns for the Tigers, looking to build on a junior year that saw him collect 1,178 yards despite missing time due to injury. Ellington has had to miss time because of injury in each of his last two seasons, and there should be opportunity for Bellamy to move up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart this spring.
For more on the Tigers' updates heading into spring practice, check out Travis Sawchik's Tigers RapidReports.
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Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 3:21 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Not much has gone wrong for 7-0 Clemson so far in 2011. But the injury bug has now bitten the Tigers in a big way.
Per CBSSports.com Clemson RapidReporter Travis Sawchik,, true freshman linebacker Tony Steward -- one of the nation's most sought-after prospects in the class of 2011 and one of the biggest prizes in Dabo Swinney's star-studded Signing Day haul -- tore his ACL in practice Tuesday evening and will miss the remainder of the season.
Having already appeared in five games this season, Steward is by rule ineligible to claim a medical redshirt. But Swinney said the Tigers would be applying for a special waiver from the NCAA in order to reclaim the lost year of eligibilty. A Clemson appearance in the ACC championship might help--with the cutoff at 30 percent of a team's season, Steward's five games would be only one more than 30 percent of a 14-game season
The ACL tear is the second in two seasons for Steward, who tore the same ligament in his other knee last December while playing for his high school team. The injury occurred while Steward backpedaled during a special teams drill at Tuesday's practice.
If there's any silver lining for Swinney and the Tigers, it's that Steward's absence won't be too keenly felt in their push for the 2011 ACC and national titles. The freshman had just five tackles on the season, one solo.
But after two major surgeries in two seasons, the bigger question marks will surround Steward's once seemingly limitless potential. Fulfilling his five-star hype after one ACL tear is difficult enough; doing it after two would be nothing short of remarkable.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: August 29, 2011 2:34 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
CBSSports.com has released it's annual preseason All-America Team in college football, voted on by staff, writers and bloggers from CBSSports.com. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck headlines the the list after throwing for 32 touchdowns last season. With a talented freshman class expected to make an impact, the preseason freshman All-America Team is listed below.
The SEC had the most players on the team with eight players, followed by the Pac-12 with six players.
CBSSports.com Preseason All-America TeamOffense
QB -- Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
RB -- Isaiah Crowell, Georgia
RB -- Savon Huggins, Rutgers
WR -- Sammy Watkins, Clemson
WR -- Marqise Lee, USC
TE -- Nick O'Leary, Florida State
OL -- La'El Collins, LSU
OL -- Tyler Moore, Nebraska
OL -- Mitch Smothers, Arkansas
OL -- Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
C -- Reese Dismukes, Auburn
DE -- Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DE -- Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame
DT -- Viliami Moala, Cal
DT -- Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
LB -- Tony Steward, Clemson
LB -- C.J. Johnson, Mississippi State
LB -- Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
DB -- Marcus Roberson, Florida
DB -- Wayne Lyons, Stanford
DB -- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
DB -- Enrique Florence, Auburn
K -- Andre Heidari, USC
P -- Pablo Beltran, Navy
All-Purpose -- De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Tags: Aaron Lynch, Alabama, Andre Heidari, Arkansas, Auburn, Bryan Fischer, C.J. Johnson, Cal, Clemson, Cyrus Kouandjio, De'Anthony Thomas, Enrique Florence, Florida, Georgia, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Isaiah Crowell, Jadeveon Clowney, La'El Collins, Louisville, LSU, Marcus Roberson, Marqise Lee, Mississippi State, Mitch Smothers, Navy, Nebraska, Nick O'Leary, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Pablo Beltran, Reese Dismukes, Rutgers, Ryan Shazier, Sammy Watkins, Savon Huggins, South Carolina, Stanford, Teddy Bridgewater, Timmy Jernigan, Tony Steward, Tyler Moore, USC, Viliami Moala, Wayne Lyons
Posted on: May 19, 2011 12:05 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Fans along the Georgia-South Carolina border who've debated since Signing Day which of the surprisingly strong 2011 Georgia or Clemson recruiting classes was better, congratulations: in a couple of years, you'll get your answer on the field.
That's because the Bulldogs and Tigers have officially set dates to renew one of the oldest and most underrated rivalries in the South. Both ends of the home-and-home will be played as season openers, with Georgia playing host on August 31, 2013, and then traveling to Clemson on August 30, 2014. The series had been announced in August 2005, with the last meeting between the teams taking place in 2003.
The 2013 meeting should feature Isaiah Crowell running against Tony Steward, Mike Bellamy going up against Ray Drew ... so yeah, two-years-plus away or not, we're clearing our calendar all the same.
Besides, Clemson-Georgia is usually must-see viewing anyway, a still-bitter rivalry that dates back to 1902 and features two sets of fans that don't care at all for each other. The most famous meeting between the two came in 1984, when Kevin Butler's 60-yard field goal gave the Bulldogs a 26-23 upset win over the second-ranked Tigers. YouTube doesn't offer up any footage, but we do have Larry Munson's "worse than bonkers" call, and unless you're a Clemson fan, that's almost as good anyway:
Here's hoping we get something half as good come 2013.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:41 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Clemson, who opens spring camp Friday, March 4.
Will Clemson's offseason moves (coaching, recruiting, and otherwise) result in immediate improvement from 2010?
When the Clemson Tigers finished their 2010 campaign with a 31-26 loss to South Florida, there were plenty of frustrated fans in Death Valley scratching their head. After all, it was only a season earlier that Clemson won the Atlantic Division and took Georgia Tech down to the wire in the ACC Championship Game. Certainly there was expected to be some drop-off, but not the first sub-.500 finish since 1998. Head coach Dabo Swinney felt his seat warm up a little after the Meineke Bowl loss, and he acted swiftly to make changes and look towards the future.
The Tigers finished near the bottom of the ACC in most major offensive categories. Swinney could have blamed the deficiencies on injuries (starting quarterback Kyle Parker and running back Andre Ellington both missed time in 2010), but with Parker departing for Major League Baseball now was the best time to make a key change on the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Billy Napier was fired, and Swinney reached out to Tulsa offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
Morris' arrival in Clemson is one of the main points of interest heading into spring practice. In 2010, Tulsa's offense ranked 13th in the nation in passing yards, while sitting at 15th nationally for rushing yards per game. They were the only school in the nation to rank in the top 15 in both categories, and their 505.6 total offensive yards per game ranked fifth in the country.
All of this is welcome news to Tigers fans, who saw too many close games slip away because of Clemson's inability to put points on the board. Six of their seven losses last season were by 9 points or less, most notably a 3-point loss to Florida State and 6-point loss to Boston College. Different results in both of those games could have changed Clemson's fortunes in the Atlantic Division.
Morris runs a fast-paced offensive style that stretches the field and relies on a strong running game to set up the deep ball. The "smash-mouth spread," as he calls it, does not include a lot of the pitch-and-catch screen game that has been prevalent in the last couple seasons at Clemson. This is very welcome news to quarterback Tajh Boyd, who is fired up about leading this new offense in 2011.
Boyd is the only scholarship quarterback returning from 2010, and the success of Morris' offense will begin and end in the sophomore's hands. The Hampton, VA native saw limited action filling in for the banged-up Kyle Parker, but that was a different offensive scheme. Not only does Boyd feel confident with a year of experience under his belt, but he appears to feel pretty comfortable about the new system.
“I think it could be a perfect fit,” Boyd said recently referring to Morris' system. “It’s keeping defenses on the edge. I’m trying to become the most versatile player I can to keep this offense explosive. Just having that extra threat would make this offense go, as you can see from all the spread teams (like) Oregon, Auburn, Texas.”
But Swinney could not spend his offseason neglecting the defense that helped deliver another bowl berth to the Tigers. Things worked out pretty well in 2010, leading the ACC in scoring defense at only 18.8 points per game. But Clemson only returns 6 starters from that unit, and has said goodbye to big names like Da'Quan Bowers and DeAndre McDaniel. So Swinney got to work as soon as 2010 was in the book, assembling the next crop of defensive playmakers to bring to Clemson.
Swinney put in his work late, and finished with a start-studded recruiting class that MaxPreps ranked as the No. 5 class in the nation. On National Signing Day, Clemson's defense received a major upgrade with the commitments of Stephone Anthony (LB, No. 5 overall prospect) and Tony Steward (LB, No. 7 overall prospect). But even aside from the two big names, Swinney identified and filled in most of Clemson's biggest needs moving forward. From a pair of highly rated wide receivers for the new offense (Charone Peake and Sammy Watkins) to an Oregon de-commit that hopes to be the next great Clemson defensive end (Roderick Byers), Swinney recruited and signed another class of "his guys." His confidence in the program suggests that Swinney's big offseason was just another part of his big plan, rather than simply a reaction to the poor finish in 2010.
“Come this fall, we have laid the foundation for what we want this program to become,” Swinney said on National Signing Day. “All the sophomores and freshmen on this football team this fall will be guys that we’ve recruited since January of ’09.
“This staff has worked really hard and has done it the right way. Before you can have a harvest, so to speak, you have plow, you’ve got to plant, and you’ve got to water. That’s what we’ve done for two years.”
But talk can only do so much for a coach at a program like Clemson. The Tiger fans demand to be competitive annually, at a bare minimum. But with the way Clemson has started 2011, the expectations will be high for the fall. Whether those expectations are fair or not never matters in big-time college football, they just need to be met.
Meeting those expectations begins on Friday with the start of spring practice. It might be a little rocky at first, with new coaches, players, and for some, positions. But when the Tigers rub Howard's Rock on their way into the stadium on September 3, the hot lights will be on Swinney. After making so much noise in the offseason, fans will want to see results.
Clemson will hold their annual spring game on April 9
Quotes via Greg Wallace, OrangeandWhite.com
Click here for the rest of the Spring Practice Primers