With the season just over two months away, we’re getting closer to hearing the crack of the pads with each passing day. It also means it’s time for new freshman who didn’t enroll early to start arriving on campus. With that in mind, let’s take a look at which guys from that group can come in and have a shot at making an immediate impact.
With the departure of Trayvon Mullen, there’s a starting spot up for grabs at the corner spot opposite of AJ Terrell. The battle for that job might very well come down to Booth and Derion Kendrick. Booth is a 5 star recruit and was ranked as the 42nd best player in the nation and 5th best CB per the 247 Composite Rankings. Of all the freshman, he’s got the best shot at coming in and nabbing a starting spot, as the corner position is one of the more easier transitions to make from high school to college.
With the transfer of Tavien Feaster, it’s going to be crucial for one of the freshmen backs to come in and learn on the fly. Feaster’s departure leaves just two scholarship backs on the roster that have any experience, as well as junior walk on Darrien Rencher, who has 24 career carries for 103 yards in 10 games.
Dukes comes to Clemson severely underrated. A 3 star recruit out of First Baptist Church High in Charleston. The Composite had him ranked 928th overall and as just the 56th best RB.
Dukes will eventually prove those numbers to be far to low but how much he can can contribute this season will depend on how quickly he can learn the intricacies of the offense, particularly the pass protections. It’s something he’s been doing in high school so the learning curve shouldn’t be as steep as it was for Feaster or Etienne. At the very least he could be used as the guy that can eat some carries in trash time.
Out of Naples High in Naples Florida, Mellusi is a 4 star back and a Top 250 player, and was the 14th best back nationally in the Composite. The first question with him is whether he’s physically ready to play. Not enrolling early didn’t allow him to have the benefit of being able to participate in the strength program throughout the spring and early summer.
Of the two backs, it seems Dukes might be closer to being ready to go but until they get into camp and put the pads on, that will be one of those unknowns we will just have to wait for an answer on. However, the fact is this team is one injury to Travis Etienne or Lyn J Dixon away from needing one of these guys to step up and contribute in a big way.