Clemson’s depth along the offensive line took another hit this week.
On top of being ravaged by injury and having to start six different offensive line combinations over the first nine games, now the Tigers are dealing with a transfer, as Dabo Swinney announced on Tuesday that sophomore Paul Tchio has left the team.
When asked if the move surprised him, the head coach was pretty frank.
“Nothing catches me off-guard in 2021,” Swinney told the media. “Nothing surprises me. Absolutely nothing. Absolutely zero. It’s just the world we’re in.”
After seeing the field a lot during the early part of the season, which includes starting one game, Tchio’s snap count had dropped drastically in recent weeks. Over the past four games, the sophomore had played just one snap, which came against Florida State, and was quickly pulled after missing an assignment.
“I guess. Different opportunity,” the head coach said when asked if playing time was the reason. “That’s what we’ve got in college football. Go somewhere else in January. It is what it is. Keep moving.”
In typical Swinney fashion, the head coach said the Tigers will just keep moving forward with what they have and that they have moved freshmen Tristan Leigh and Ryan Linthicum up from the scout team to help with depth.
“Trent (Howard), Mitchell (Mayes) and (Bryn) Tucker are the three guys that have kind of been repping all year,” Swinney said. “We’ve moved Tristan (Leigh) and Ryan (Linthicum). They aren’t in danger of losing their redshirt. We brought them up from the scouts yesterday. They’ve been in power hour grinding in the weight room and on the scout team all fall.
“We’ll keep rolling with what we’ve got. We’ve developed a lot of versatility in that offensive line. That’s for sure. We’ve got a lot of guys that can play multiple positions. Real excited about the group.”
Tchio’s departure can be called an unexpected loss and does open up a scholarship for next season. Clemson has two offensive linemen committed in the 2022 recruiting class and could potentially add one more but don’t expect them to add just anyone. It will have to be the right guy, as Swinney maintains the Tigers are still good to go from a numbers standpoint.
“We’ve just got to get guys back from injury,” Swinney said. “Numbers-wise, we’re fine.”
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