CLEMSON -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Monday he gave Furman permission to speak with Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier regarding Furman's vacant head coaching position.
Contacted Monday by Furman, Swinney granted the request with the condition Furman wait until Clemson has completed its regular season, which concludes against South Carolina on Saturday.
Furman played its final game under coach Bobby Lamb on Saturday. Lamb announced his resignation last week.
Lamb earned $250,000 this season leading the Paladins, while Napier's compensation is $275,000 as an assistant at Clemson.
Napier was immediately speculated to be a candidate for the position following Lamb's resignation, but the second-year coordinator said he had not been contacted Saturday after Clemson's win at Wake Forest. Napier said it would not be "relevant" to discuss the position Saturday.
Napier, 31, became the youngest coordinator in Clemson history last season. He played quarterback at Furman under Lamb from 1999-02.
Ellington still not practicing
Clemson leading rusher Andre Ellington (foot) was unable to practice Monday, but was able to do some running. Swinney said Ellington's status for South Carolina will be updated earlier in the week. The Berkeley High product has missed three games with a ligament strain and bone fragment in his foot. Clemson has already scheduled offseason surgery for Ellington.
Top-rated WR commits to Clemson
While Clemson has lacked skill players on offense this fall, it shouldn't be an issue in the coming seasons.
The Tigers received a commitment from a consensus top-five wide receiver prospect in Sammy Watkins on Monday, according to multiple reports.
Watkins (Fort Myers, Fla.) gives the Tigers the state of Florida's No. 1 wide receiver and running back (Mike Bellamy) prospects in the class of 2011.
In a year of on-field disappointments for Swinney, the 2011 recruiting class is shaping up to be Clemson's strongest since 2008, especially at the skill positions where Watkins joins fellow top-rated wide receiver commits Charone Peake and Martavis Bryant.
ESPN rates the Tigers' 2011 class as the ninth best nationally before the Watkins commitment and Rivals.com rates the class as 19th overall.
The 6-1, 185-pound Watkins is ranked 40th on ESPN's top 150 list for 2011 and rated as Scout.com's No. 2 receiver and Rivals.com's No. 3 receiver.
According to ESPN's scouting report Watkins is a "lean, sleek wide receiver with good height and exceptional foot quickness. He is fast, quick and very heady. Has terrific awareness as a route runner and football player. His feet move so rapidly that he looks faster than he (times)."
The class will put pressure on young Tigers wideouts like Bryce McNeal and Jaron Brown to perform or risk losing playing time.
Bowers finalist for Bednarik
Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was named as one of three finalists for the Bednarik Award on Monday, joining Auburn's Nick Fairley and LSU's Patrick Peterson.
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