The Clemson Tigers have entered the "Transformation Phase" of their year. It's the time, over the summer, that they are expected to transform their bodies through summer workouts, their minds and prepare for the grind of a season that will hopefully culminate in lifting a trophy.
Today we look at three members of the Tigers who need to have a transformational summer, starting with the offensive line and tight ends:
1: Walker Parks: Played in 199 offensive snaps along both Clemson’s interior and at tackle, the most of any Clemson non-starter on the offensive line last year. The offensive lineman was one of the most talked-about last season, but the 2021 year could be Parks' year.
With the Tigers looking to solidify an offensive line that was not good at times last season, Parks could emerge if he puts in the work this summer.
2: Ryan Linthicum: True freshman Ryan Linthicum looked the part entering Clemson this spring. However, even at a position of desperate need...center...the young, but super-talented lineman still needs to work on a few things this summer if he is going to make a push for the starting job.
There’s some questionable footspeed that will need to be addressed, but this is a big boy that loves to drive block – which is a valuable skill for a guy on the interior. Linthicum has got some things to clean up on the next level, especially if he’s going to have the quickness it takes to face ACC defensive linemen.
3: Jaelyn Lay: Lay enters 2021 having caught two passes for 25 yards in 122 career snaps over 16 games, and is undoubtedly one of the biggest question marks after entering Clemson with tons of promise.
"I've not seen a more competitive player than Jaelyn Lay. His skill set is super, super special,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said of Lay. “We (linebackers) matched up with the tight ends in camp and Jaelyn Lay is the most impressive tight end I have seen in a camp since I've been coaching. Hopefully, he brings a work ethic and toughness and competitiveness to grind with him — and I believe he will, because I think he's made of the right stuff. I really like what he's about."
Lay has not lived up to the hype of Venables through his first two seasons, but with the return of Braden Galloway to the Tigers for a final season, Davis Allen's emergence and true freshman Jake Briningstool drawing rave reviews. Lay needs to have a big summer for the Tigers, or his career stats may not improve.