CLEMSON – Charone Peake is not Usain Bolt, but he proved this summer he is plenty fast, beating the biggest name on campus in a sprint, star teammate Sammy Watkins.
Peake was the fastest Tiger when timed by the staff, faster than Watkins, whom no defender was able to run down last season.
“He ran a 4.2 (second) something,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of Peake’s 40-yard dash time. “He was the fastest guy on the team, which is incredibly impressive because we have some guys who can run.”
Sure, the time was not electronic, but even if granted a generous shaving of a 10th of a second from the time, the sophomore still beat out the likes of Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Martin Jenkins, who are legitimate 4.4 second 40-yard runners.
Peake isn’t just fast, he’s also motivated.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder who was rated as a five-star talent by ESPN last year and was compared to A.J. Green by one ESPN analyst, caught just four passes as a freshman. But he appears determined to put a disappointing debut campaign behind him.
“If there is a guy on our team on a mission it is Charone Peake,” Swinney said. “I don’t know what clicked … but he’s incredibly confident. He’s playing at a high level right now.”
With Watkins suspended the first two games of the season, Peake will have a chance to show he is indeed a different, and faster, player on Sept. 1 in the Georgia Dome against Auburn.
End of the line
Swinney said sophomore defensive lineman Tavaris Barnes will work exclusively at defensive end this summer, converting from defensive tackle where he spent most of last season in a reserve role.
The move is one of necessity at Clemson.
“We are just incredibly thin at defensive end,” Swinney said. “We are trying to address that in this recruiting class (2013). Tavaris is the one guy who can do it and do it well. … He’s the only guy we have inside that can play outside.
Swinney likes what he has seen from 267-pound Barnes early in camp and notes he and Vic Beasley both will earn plenty of playing this fall at end. Barnes recorded just six tackles last season.
“Tavaris and Vic are two of those guys who can be very disruptive,” Swinney said. “Long term (Barnes) is probably going to end up inside as he continues to play and develop and grow. But he can run and outside of Vic Beasley he’s the fastest D-lineman we have. He’s powerful. He has his body in good shape. He’s trimmed down a little.”
Linebacker Tony Stewart says he is feeling 100 percent recovered from last season’s ACL tear. … Swinney expects Adam Humphries’ production and playing time to double this season at receiver and perhaps on special teams as a returner …. Swinney on running back Andre Ellington: “Best I’ve seen him.” Ellington said he ran a 4.3 second 40 this summer.