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Tigers Open Practice with 105 Players

CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson head Coach Tommy Bowden welcomed 105 players to the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center on Tuesday. The Tigers practiced for over five hours on Tuesday, two and a half hours in the morning and two hours and 45 minutes in the late afternoon.

Bowden announced three position changes for the first day of work. T.J. Watkins, a sophomore from North Augusta, SC, was moved from tight end to offensive tackle. He started four games and played in all 11 last year. He had three receptions for 64 yards for the season.

Bowden also moved sophomore Akil Smith from offensive tackle to offensive guard, and moved Pat Cyrgalis from fullback to tight end. Smith did not start any games last year, but played 240 snaps from scrimmage, most by a Clemson first-year freshman offensive lineman in the last 25 seasons. Cyrgalis red-shirted last season.

“When we examined our personnel we determined that T.J. Watkins was one of the best 11 offensive players on the team and that he needed to be on the football field,” said Bowden. “We made this move to give a young offensive line a little more experience. He had four starts last year and played over 300 snaps. “

Overall, Bowden was pleased with the work his team put in during 90-degree heat on Monday. Four players were taken off the field due to heat exhaustion, but were fine after the Clemson training staff replenish their fluid supply.

“Overall the team came back with a serious attitude and practiced with a sense of urgency. They came back in good condition. They were not as scattered when it came to assignments, they showed that there was some carryover from the spring.

Other Notes: Clemson legend Banks McFadden was among the guests at the afternoon practice….the only athlete in Clemson history have his jersey number retired in two sports, viewed practice from the sidelines in a golf cart…the 80-year-old McFadden was Clemson’s first AP All-American in 1939….Clemson will continue to work in shoulder pads and shorts twice a day through Thursday….Clemson will have its first full pads practice on Friday afternoon…among the players working with the receivers was Shawn Crawford, an All-American on the Clemson men’s track team…he was the 200 meters indoor NCAA Champion two years ago.