Well-timed move

Brandon Ford

Brandon Ford is another interesting case study from the line of players who have made a position switch during the Dabo Swinney Era.

Caught between a logjam of upperclassmen and an incoming haul of blue chip commitments to the 2011 signing class, Ford was in his second season on the field as a wide receiver.

During the open week after the Auburn game in 2010, Ford was moved from wide receiver to tight end.

Over the following six weeks, he never logged more than 10 snaps in a game. Once November rolled around, he averaged over 10 plays game.

Ford is one of several notable changes that have been executed under Swinney's watch.

Former walk-on tight end Phillip Price was moved to the offensive line and ended his career as the Tiger's starter at left tackle, and was, arguably, one of the offensive line's best players in 2011.

Signed as a tight end, Victor Beasley made the move to defensive end less about a full season into his career. From seldom used reserve in 2011 to the team's sack leader in 2012, Beasley certainly made great strides during his redshirt sophomore season.

Just months ago, four-star tight end signee Eric MacLain began his move to offensive tackle. Now, a redshirt sophomore, MacLain is likely to begin the 2013 season as a full-time tackle after splitting time between the two positions over the final weeks of the 2012 campaign.

Joe Gore just finished his redshirt freshman year as an offensive tackle. During his first season on campus, Gore arrived as a defensive end.

After two seasons as a reserve defensive tackle, Tyler Shatley moved to right guard about this time a year ago. He won the starting job only a few months after changing over to the offensive side of the ball.

Stanton Seckinger, like Ford, signed as a wide receiver before transitioning to tight end.

Less than a full season into his switch, Ford introduced himself to the Clemson faithful with a career performance in the 2010 finale against South Florida, finishing with four catches for 45 yards and two touchdowns.

Since then, Ford's hauled in 54 passes for 646 yards and 10 touchdowns, including his nine catch, 69-yard output against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

"I was about 220 then, 245 now," Ford said, recalling his Meineke Car Care Bowl effort. "That was my first year playing tight end. Actually, at the same time, it's a big experience. I was used to going against guys, not even 200 pounds.

"Now, I'm going against guys 260 and above. It's just a different nature playing down there where the front seven play."

With two season's worth of production at the position, Ford hopes he's the next Clemson tight end to enter the NFL.


Dwayne Allen caught 45 passes during his rookie season in the NFL.
Michael Palmer debuted with Atlanta Falcons in 2010 as an undrafted rookie free-agent. Dwayne Allen, a third-round selection, just finished his first regular season with the Indianapolis Colts. The All-Rookie performer will make his playoff debut on Sunday against the Ravens.

"Just by hearing scouts talk about me and just hearing from coaches, too, my career is definitely up in the air right now, as far as playing at the next level," Ford said. "I have a great chance. I'm not going to try to be cocky about it.

"But, at the same time, you play this game -- some people play it to make it to the next level, some people play it just because they love it. At the same time, if they're like me, I'm one of the guys that plays it because I love it, and I want to pursue the NFL."

Ford, who will play in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic, is under the impression that he could be drafted as early anywhere from the third to sixth round, or later.

"All that stuff really doesn't matter until you go out and perform at the combine and games like [the Chick-fil-A Bowl]," he said. "Teams pick who they want, all it takes is one chance, really. If you're a free-agent or not you've just got to try to make the best of it and go from there."

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