Clemson coach Dabo Swinney on Wednesday night shared some positive news about injuries and some insight on negative news regarding a transfer.
The No. 24 Tigers (4-2, 3-1 ACC) will play at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday at No. 23 Pitt (5-1, 2-0) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Clemson junior running back Michel “Mikey” Dukes left the team and went into the transfer portal earlier this week. He was a promising player who appeared in 10 games as a freshman but had seen action in only one game this season with two carries for 7 yards against South Carolina State.
“We had a team issue this week with him and he felt like it was time to move on,” Swinney said. “He hasn’t really played. You hate it. But that’s kind of where we are in college football. He was one of the best athletes on this team. It just takes more than that. I wish him nothing but the best. I’ll do whatever I can to help him.”
Dukes was the second Clemson player to enter the transfer portal this week. The Tigers also lost junior safety Joseph Charleston. Earlier this season, senior running back Lyn-J Dixon quit after three games and will also look for another program.
In all, Clemson has lost 10 players to the transfer portal since the end of last season: running back Chez Mellusi to Wisconsin, cornerback Derion Kendrick to Georgia, linebacker Mike Jones to LSU, defensive tackle Jordan Williams to Virginia Tech, defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney to Minnesota, offensive tackle Kalen Boateng to Florida, and cornerback LeAnthony Williams to Marshall.
… The loss of Dukes left Clemson with only three healthy running backs on scholarship in sophomore Kobe Pace (52 carries for 292 yards), freshman Phil Mafah (17 carries for 88 yards) and senior Darien Rencher (four carries for 14 yards).
But the Tigers could get a boost with the possible return of freshman Will Shipley from a knee injury. He was the team’s leading rusher (44 carries for 211 yards and five touchdowns) when he suffered a leg injury Sept. 25 at N.C. State. Swinney said Shipley could play at Pitt.
“He’ll be a game-time decision,” Swinney said. “He looks good. He looks better than I anticipated at this point.”
… Clemson will also have tight end Braden Galloway as well as cornerbacks Andrew Booth Jr. and Fred Davis back from injury. Galloway and Booth missed last week’s game at Syracuse. Davis has missed the past three games.
“It’s the first time in a while that we’ve got all six corners available,” Swinney said. “Good week for that to happen. That’s for sure.”