Clemson Playmaker to Watch: Freshman Will Taylor
Clemson had a notable lack of offensive playmakers in last Saturday's loss to Georgia.
Receiver Joseph Ngata, and his 110 yards, was the highlight player for that side of the ball. To be fair, the Tigers didn't show much creativity on offense, but there was one new element added that nobody had ever seen, and it might be a sign of things to come.
Fourth-string quarterback Will Taylor, who's also listed as a receiver, came into the huge game against Georgia. He lined up behind center and ran a zone-read play in which he handed the ball off instead of keeping it and trying to get to the edge.
It was a planned play that the Tigers installed to use in Week 1, despite Taylor being a true freshman who didn't join the team until the summer.
"It was a situation that, especially trying to generate a run game, we may need a spark, and his legs may have given us a spark," Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. "So, we tried to get him in there. He made the right read. It was a decision read on the defensive end. He didn’t react and become in conflict enough for him to pull the ball. But I would’ve liked to see have seen him pull it because I think he could’ve got the edge, and if he would’ve got loose, then that would’ve been a big play. But it was part of the plan.”
It's a wrinkle that Tiger fans could see more of Saturday when No. 5 Clemson opens up its home schedule against S.C. State at 5 p.m. Taylor was a baseball and football star from Dutch Fork High School in Columbia, S.C., and he turned down a chance to play professionally on the diamond to play two sports for the Tigers.
Taylor is a superb athlete who coaches and players have raved about since August. He already got punt return opportunities against Georgia, so they're committed to getting the ball in his hands.
Keep an eye on Taylor when he's on the field. He could become an intriguing "gadget" player for Clemson and might be an option at receiver to help a sluggish passing attack.
“I think that you guys, down the road, are going to see how electric No. 16 is," Elliott said.
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