On the Beat: Clemson OL Sean Pollard heavily recruited by NC State, excited to play in home state
CLEMSON — About 90 minutes southwest of Raleigh is Jackson Springs, N.C., the hometown of Clemson offensive lineman Sean Pollard. It was there that N.C. State coaches begged for the sophomore’s services.
“Pretty heavy. Hometown team, Duke and N.C. State were probably the heaviest in-state for sure,” Pollard said Monday. “Coach (Dave) Doeren has known me since I was a little pup back in ninth grade and going to his camps with my high school team. I have a couple of good friends that actually play for the team or work for the team, so it is going to be fun going back there.”
Days from now, the No. 6 Tigers will travel to the No. 20 Wolfpack’s Carter-Finley Stadium for an ACC Atlantic showdown Saturday, when Pollard will play at the school that wanted him so badly for the first time of his collegiate career. Clemson is the favorite to win by about a touchdown, but an N.C. State victory would throw the Tigers’ conference championship hopes for a loop.
Currently, Pollard has about 10 tickets gathered for family and friends to come see him. He’s now in the process of working on more.
“It’s a home trip for a couple of us, so it’s awesome to get to play there,” he said. “They’re a great team. Coach (Dave) Doeren’s done an amazing job with them.”
FSU game time to be determined
The entire ACC is a on a six-day hold for TV scheduling purposes, the conference announced Monday, meaning the Clemson-Florida State matchup set for Nov. 11 still does not have a start time or a network. The conference’s broadcasting partners plan to announce that information Sunday, as was the case for this week with Clemson’s game against North Carolina State.
Once projected to be the marquee ACC matchup of the year — and one with national ramifications, too — Florida State-Clemson does not carry near the weight this year that it has in years past.
Florida State, projected to win the conference and make a deep run into the College Football Playoff, lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois to a season-ending injury in the opener against Alabama and never recovered. The Seminoles are now 2-5, have three divisional losses and are at risk of not making a bowl for the first time in 36 seasons.
Clemson is currently 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the ACC heading into what is now the new marquee ACC Atlantic matchup this week: N.C. State.
O’Daniel a national finalist
Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel, a fifth-year player whom Clemson coaches have raved about all year for his transformation, is a semifinalist for the annual Dick Butkus Award.
The award is given to the nation’s top linebacker, and O’Daniel is one of three semifinalists from the ACC. Joining him are Virginia senior Micah Kiser and Virginia Tech junior Tremaine Edmunds. O’Daniel has been Clemson’s leading tackler in four of the Tigers’ eight games, racking up 15 against Auburn, 14 at Virginia Tech, 13 at Syracuse and 11 against Georgia Tech. He leads Clemson overall with 72 tackles and also has a pair of interceptions for touchdowns.
Clemson owns the overall series with N.C. State 56-28-1, while the Tigers have a 20-16 record against the Wolfpack in Raleigh. N.C. State is looking for its first win against Clemson since 2011.