NCF Nation: Justin Parker

Clemson fans saw more out of the Tigers' offense in this year's spring game than they did a year ago -- literally.

Last year, the Tigers ran 108 total plays in their spring game. On Saturday, the Tigers ran a total of 130. And yes, it was balanced, with 69 rushing and 61 passing plays. Clemson, which is under the direction of first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris, snapped the ball with 16-20 seconds left on the play clock on most plays.

“People saw that we will run a fast paced offense this coming season, but we really would like to go faster,” coach Dabo Swinney said, according to the team's practice report. “I was pleased with what I saw in the running game today. All three of our backs ran well. And Tajh Boyd ran well. He made some good decision today and most importantly, he did not have a turnover.”

While Boyd was in the spotlight for the first time, Clemson's rushing attack was the highlight, as two players ran for at least 100 yards each. Demont Buice had 18 carries for 102 yards and Rod McDowell rushed 12 times for 100 yards for the Orange team. D.J. Howard had 11 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown for the White team.

Boyd threw for one touchdown (to tight end Dwayne Allen) and rushed for one. He completed 8 of 24 passes for 114 yards and had eight carries for 43 yards. His Orange offense averaged 6.2 yards per carry. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson’s top receiver last year as a freshman with 52 catches, had four for 54 yards. Allen had three catches for 43 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown.

Freshman quarterback Cole Stoudt was 6-of-22 passing for 118 yards. Marquan Jones led the White team with three catches for 71 yards.

Desmond Brown led the Orange team with seven tackles. Spencer Shuey and Andre Branch each had two sacks. Justin Parker had the only interception of the game.

The White defense was led by Jonathan Meeks with seven tackles and two pass breakups. Garry Peters, a redshirt freshman, had six stops, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Quandon Christian had five tackles and a forced fumble. Freshman Corey Crawford, who entered Clemson in January, had two sacks.

Clemson offensive starters Andre Ellington (RB) and Antoine McClain (OG) were injured and did not play.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw two touchdown passes and continued to show progress on Saturday in the Tigers' final stadium scrimmage before Saturday's spring game.

Offensive highlights:
  • Boyd completed 8 of 16 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He completed a 20-yard scoring pass to DeAndre Hopkins, and a 3-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman tight end Sam Cooper in a goal-line situation. Boyd also had 10 carries for 14 yards. Hopkins finished with two catches for 43 yards.
  • Marquan Jones had a team-high four catches for 44 yards.
  • Jaron Brown had two carries for 26 yards, a 30-yard reception and a 20-yard punt return. D.J. Howard (19-85), Demont Buice (13-59), Rod McDowell (8-36) and Brown (2-26) combined for 206 yards in 42 attempts.
Defensive highlights:
  • Corico Hawkins led the defense with eight tackles, and Rashard Hall had seven.
  • Corey Crawford had an 87-yard fumble return and caused and recovered another fumble. He also had a tackle for loss and a pass deflection. Crawford’s playing time increased this week when Andre Branch returned home to be with his family after the death of his grandfather.
  • Tig Willard had six tackles, a pass broken up and an interception. Josh Watson had two tackles for loss, and Justin Parker had five tackles, including a sack.
Quotable: "Tajh Boyd has continued to improve and the game is slowing down for him," coach Dabo Swinney said, according to the team's practice report. "He has a bit of false security when wearing the purple jersey [quarterbacks are not tackled], and I need to break him of that, but he is improving. He made some very good decisions today."

Recruiting rewind: Clemson

February, 4, 2010
The recruiting trail was a different experience for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who was much more involved in the entire process this year, having completed his first full season as head coach. One thing that didn’t change was that Swinney helped bring in one of the ACC’s top three classes. It's the fifth straight year that Clemson has finished in the Scouts Inc. top 20.

There isn’t a C.J. Spiller or Da’Quan Bowers highlighting the group, but there are two players from the ESPNU 150 who will add some speed and athleticism to the roster. Four-star wide receiver Martavis Bryant and four-star athlete Garry Peters both have the ability to contribute immediately. Swinney said this class began on Feb. 23, 2008, when Bryant of Anderson, S.C., was the first commitment. Bryant was the first in the class to sign and fax his letter of intent on Wednesday (7:15 a.m.). Swinney said Bryant will wear No. 1 next season.

Bryant and Peters are two of six four-star newcomers in the class of 23. Clemson signed six defensive backs, four offensive linemen, three wide receivers, two defensive tackles, two defensive ends, two tight ends, two running backs and two linebackers.

“It’s an outstanding group of guys,” Swinney said. “We hit every need. ... We really feel like we hit every critical need we had. We’ve come a long way in a year. ... I’m excited about that, and what we’ve been able to do as a staff. We’ve overhauled our recruiting process here and after one year, I’m real pleased with the results.”

Clemson signed seven players from the state of Georgia, the most the program has recruited from that state since 2002. One player who could see the field early is linebacker Justin Parker.

“He’s probably a guy who physically and mentally has a chance to help us early, but it’s a really hard thing to predict,” Swinney said. “We signed three really good wideouts, and I’d be shocked if somebody there isn’t making a contribution, same thing with tight end. We signed four offensive lineman, obviously one guy may step it up there. Our defensive end prospects will have an opportunity to compete, and probably somebody in the secondary. But just singling somebody out would be hard to do.”

Clemson finishes strong

February, 3, 2010
Clemson wrapped up its 23-player recruiting class with letters from running back D.J. Howard and linebacker Justin Parker, who has the potential to contribute immediately. Coach Dabo Swinney told me he had no doubt both of those players would sign today, but he's "glad they came through." The Tigers, who signed two players from the ESPNU 150, currently have the No. 17 class in the country. Clemson missed on Keenan Allen, who announced today he'd sign with Cal, but it's still a good class for Swinney's first full recruiting year as head coach.