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Football to Open Spring Practice Saturday

Feb. 28, 2003

Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden will welcome 90 players to the beginning of spring practice on Saturday morning at 10:00 AM at he practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. It will be the first the spring workouts for the Tigers. The session will culminate with the Spring Game on April 5 at Death Valley at 1:00 PM.

Bowden has 48 returning lettermen from last year’s team that finished with a 7-6 record. That includes 12 returning starters, eight on offense and four on defense.

Two returning lettermen from last year will not be with the squad when practice opens on Saturday. Tight end Ben Hall and linebacker Brandon Jamison will not be at practice on Saturday. “Ben Hall has left the team for personal reasons,” Bowden said on Friday. Hall remains enrolled in classes at Clemson.

“Brandon Jamison has been released from spring practice to attend to academic matters. When we feel his academic performance is in line then we will review when he will return.”

Bowden also said that wide receiver Airese Currie would not practice on Saturday. An All-American with the Clemson track team, he will be competing in an indoor track meet for Clemson at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Bowden will be very active at the first practice. Clemson’s head coach will also serve as the wide receivers position coach at the beginning of the spring drills. Rick Stockstill, Clemson’s wide receivers coach for many years, resigned earlier this week to become the offensive coordinator at East Carolina. Bowden coached wide receivers at Alabama, Kentucky and Auburn for a total of 10 years during his career as an assistant coach. “I am looking forward to it,” said Bowden. “I don’t know if the players are. I went to the wide receivers room to make sure I had the grease, board, markers, and video equipment. The room is ready.

Bowden announced some position changes on Friday. Tye Hill, a running back last year who picked up 225 yards in 42 attempts, has moved to cornerback. He will start the spring at first team left corner. Gerald McCloud, a wide receiver during the 2002 season, his first-year freshman season, has moved to roverback.

David Dunham, a linebacker last year who played in all 13 games on special teams, has been moved to fullback. Rod Whipple, a defensive end last year, who played in 11 games, has moved to tight end. Jermyn Chester, who started eight games last year at center last year, has been moved to offensive guard, a position he has played before at Clemson. He started at guard in 2000 against Missouri. Three players will miss at least the first week of practice due to injury. Khaleed Vaughn, returning starter at defensive end, suffered a knee injury while working out in the weight room. The injury required arthroscopic surgery. He could return by the end of spring practice.

Toure Francis could see some action in drills this spring as he recovers from surgery as the result of a torn ACL suffered in the Georgia game last year. But, he will not see any contact this spring. Ronny Delusme is also recovering from a torn ACL and will miss all of spring practice. Returning letterman Tony Elliott will not practice this spring. Elliott graduated last December, and is working semester, but he will return in the fall as a graduate student. Elliott had 10 catches for 166 yards last season.

Clemson’s returning starters on offense are Willie Simmons (QB), Jermyn Chester (C), Cedric Johnson (OG), Greg Walker (OG), William Henry (OT), Kevin Youngblood( WR), Derrick Hamilton (WR) and Airese Currie (WR). The returning starters on defense are John Leake (LB), Khaleed Vaughn (DE) and Donnell Washington (DT).

The list of offensive starters does not include Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson’s starting quarterback the last five games of the year, who is listed first on the depth chart entering spring practice. The same goes for center Tommy Sharpe, who started the last five games at center.

Clemson opens the season against Georgia at Death Valley on August 30.