Thomas Austin impressed with Clemson Tigers first-year players

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CLEMSON, SC — Robbie Caldwell saved his best scouting job for last, or so Clemson’s new offensive line coach sees it.

Thomas Austin, who took over from Caldwell in January, has been nothing but impressed with freshman offensive linemen Collin Sadler and Blake Miller in the first six practices this spring. The two freshmen enrolled at Clemson in January so they could participate in spring drills.

“These guys are phenomenal,” Austin said after Friday’s practice behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex. “I told Coach Caldwell, he saved the best for last. Both of these guys are brilliant.

Sadler (6-6, 295) and Miller (6-6, 315) tick all the boxes. Austin says they are great people, great students, and come from great families. These are the prototype offensive linemen the Tigers will be looking for in the future.

“You want more Collin Sadlers and Blake Millers,” Austin said. “So they did a great job.”

Miller has played second-team right tackle this spring, basically since the start of camp, while Sadler has done a great job playing tackle and also playing some guard on Friday.

“These guys are tall, they’re physical, they’re athletic, and they’re smart. We can work with that,” Austin said.

Austin believes the two freshmen plan to help the Tigers in the fall, much like left guard Marcus Tate did last season.

“They came in and got to work, earning respect from their teammates in the weight room and how they got through off-season practices,” Austin said. “So they physically arrived ready to play. Excellent bodybuilding programs, excellent coaching. These guys arrived well developed. They really understood it.

“Our setup plan was manageable for them, and I think they had very little…I think every guy made a mental mistake in his first scrum, which was really good. And Collin came in to play guard, which he hadn’t played yet. Blake wasn’t really a mental (error). He called, but it was too late. So these guys are doing a phenomenal job.

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