If, come November, we’re examining sack totals and see impressive totals from a variety of ACC defenses, remember June 25. That’s the day the conference lost one returning starter at left tackle — Clemson’s Isaiah Battle — and another presumed starter in Miami’s Taylor Gadbois.
Isaiah Battle opted to enter the NFL supplementary draft Thursday, issuing the following statement via ClemsonTigers.com:
“I have some family matters to address, with a child due this summer, and I feel it is in my best interest to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft. I want to thank everyone at Clemson, especially Coach Swinney and the assistant coaches, for what they have done for me the last three years. I also want to thank my teammates. They have all had a big impact on my career.”
However, TheClemsonInsider.com paints a slightly different picture, reporting Battle was arrested earlier this month for marijuana possession. TCI cites a source who called the arrest Battle’s “third and final strike.”
— TheClemsonInsider (@ClemsonInsider) June 25, 2015
Whatever the motivation prompting Battle’s sudden and unexpected departure, OrangeAndWhite.com notes Clemson lost “over 3,000 snaps lost off from last year’s offensive line (3,263).”
That’s a whole lot of production to replace.
Taylor Gadbois, meanwhile, was dismissed by University of Miami coaches under circumstances that, as of this writing, are equally murky. Gadbois told Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, “it’s surprising to me.”
“They didn’t feel I was being positive enough with the team, with the young guys, which I completely disagree with. I mean, I work with these guys every single day. I’m in a group text with the team and everybody’s just bewildered by it. Everybody’s just blown away.”
Thus far, Al Golden and no one from his staff have issued anything declarative on Gadbois’ release. In any era of college football in which coaches are criticized for too eagerly keeping players on the roster despite trouble, I have difficulty envisioning a player being dismissed for such wishy-washy reasons. But that’s purely an opinion based on my own conjecture.
Speaking of opinion, StateOfTheU.com offered some ideas as to how Miami will replace Gadbois:
Darling, McDermott, Milo & St. Louis are all in the mix at Tackle, and were all 4-star recruits (some had Kc as 5-star). Plenty of talent
— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) June 25, 2015
Clemson and Miami return two of, if not the two best quarterbacks in the ACC in Deshaun Watson and Brad Kaaya. Needless to say, however, adequate offensive line production is critical to either’s success. Clemson and Miami have both recruited well in recent years, particularly on the offensive line. But are the inexperienced players now required to fill these sudden voids enough to keep ACC defenses from teeing off?