It was the last major scrimmage for the Tigers before the annual Spring Game on April 9 at 2:30 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.
Wednesday’s scrimmage was the 11th of 15 spring practices for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers, who finished with a 14-1 record and No. 2 final ranking last year. The Tigers return 52 lettermen and 14 starters from that club that was No. 1 in the nation according to the College Football Playoff poll for six straight weeks.
“Today was a little better than last week’s scrimmage,” said Swinney. “I fell good about the level of competition. We will get a lot of good information off today’s scrimmage. We worked three full teams. There was good and bad on both sides of the ball and you always see that in a scrimmage.
“Jadar Johnson had another standout performance. He caused a fumble and then recovered it and ran it back 30 yards before the whistle blew. It was a great play. He is really having a good spring.
“The running backs ran well today. Wayne Gallman was excellent. Tyshon Dye had a couple of tough runs. I saw him finish some runs and that was good to see.” Dye also had a one-handed catch out of the backfield that was wiped out by an offensive penalty.
“Probably the best thing I have seen out of this Spring practice has been the play of Christian Wilkins at defensive end. He can be effective at that position and we know what he can do at tackle.”
Gallman, who set a Clemson single season record for rushing yards (1527) and yards from scrimmage (1740) last year, had just eight rushes for 112 yards and a touchdown. He had a 55-yard run and a 30-yard run to highlight his production. He had a 15-yard reception from quarterback Deshaun Watson, and a 30-yard scoring run to climax a two-minute drill that resulted in a score.
Gallman was not the only running back to have a positive day. Sophomore C.J. Fuller had 6-49 rushing, including a 35-yard run, while Tyshon Dye had eight carries for 33 yards and a score. Adam Choice had 10 carries for 27 yards and a score.
Watson got the scrimmage off to a good start for the offense when he threw a perfect 40-yard pass to Trevion Thompson. Watson threw for 133 yards and a score, a 25-yard pass to classmate Artavis Scott. Tight end Jordan Leggett had three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown, a 13-yard pass from Nick Schuessler.
There were many defensive highlights as well. Freshman Shaq Smith had six tackles to lead all defensive players, while Joseph and Christian Wilkins were next with five apiece. Wilkins had two tackles for loss from defensive end position, a position he has been working this spring. Last year he had 84 tackles as a Freshman All-American defensive tackle.
Richard Yeargin had a pair of sacks, while Amir Trapp had an interception and a pass deflection. Tre Lamar and Nyles Pinckney, a pair of freshmen who entered in January, both had sacks as well. The scrimmage was played with a rule where the quarterback could not be tackled and merely touching the quarterback was ruled a sack.
Clemson has the rest of the week off and will have practices on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week before holding the Spring Game on Saturday, April 9.