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Spring Game set for Saturday

Spring Game set for Saturday

CLEMSON, S.C. — Defending ACC Champion and College Football Playoff finalist Clemson will conclude its spring practice season with the annual Orange & White game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, April 9. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend the contest.

The game will be played with normal clock rules for the first two quarters. After the second possession of the third quarter, the clock will run continuously except during a timeout, a quarter change or injury. Unlike recent seasons, all kickoffs and punts will be covered live.

Clemson returns 14 starters and 52 lettermen from last year’s team, plus wide receiver Mike Williams and nickel back Korrin Wiggins, who were starters in 2014. Both missed most of the 2015 season due to injury and will sit out the spring game, but will be ready in August.

All-American quarterback Deshaun Watson will play at times for both teams on Saturday. He will be the first quarterback to play for both teams in the spring game since Charlie Whitehurst did so in 2004.

Watson became the first quarterback in the history of FBS football to throw for at least 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season when he led Clemson to a 14-1 season and No. 2 final ranking in 2015. He was the consensus first-team All-American quarterback and Clemson’s first Heisman Trophy finalist.

“It should be a great day for football at Death Valley on Saturday,” said Head Coach Dabo Swinney, the consensus National Coach of the Year for 2015. “It is a day we all look forward to, and I encourage all Clemson fans to join us. I am looking for a record crowd.” 

The attendance record for a Clemson spring game was set last year at 37,000. 

“We have divided the team evenly and it is a day that we evaluate the players in every way, including putting them in a competitive situation.”

Clemson coaches divided the teams on Thursday morning. The White team offense will feature quarterbacks Nick Schuessler and Tucker Israel, All-ACC wide receiver Artavis Scott, and running backs Tyshon Dye and C.J. Fuller. The White team defense will include defensive lineman Scott Pagano, Freshman All-American Christian Wilkins,  All-ACC linebacker Ben Boulware, and defensive backs Ryan Carter and Van Smith.

The White team coaching staff will be led by Head Coach Brandon Streeter, offensive coordinator Jeff Scott and defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Rounding out the White team staff will be Robbie Caldwell and Dan Brooks.

The Orange team will be quarterbacked by Kelly Bryant and feature All-American tight end Jordan Leggett, All-ACC running back Wayne Gallman, receivers Hunter Renfrow and Ray-Ray McCloud, and All-ACC offensive linemen Mitch Hyatt, Tyrone Crowder and Jay Guillermo. The Orange defense will include All-ACC defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, defensive ends Austin Bryant and Richard Yeargin, linebacker Dorian O’Daniel and All-ACC cornerback Cordrea Tankersley.

The head coach of the Orange team will be Mike Reed. Tony Elliott will serve as offensive coordinator and Marion Hobby will be the defensive coordinator. Danny Pearman will also be a part of the Orange staff.

There will be no fake kicks allowed and the quarterbacks will not be tackled. The team will run down the Hill prior to the kickoff. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3 with Roy Philpott and former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd providing the commentary. The Clemson radio network also will broadcast the game on its regular list of stations beginning at 2 p.m.