The battle between the Florida State Seminoles and the Clemson Tigers to take the lead in the Atlantic Division this Saturday in Death Valley will feature a matchup of two supremely talented players.
|Christian Jones||Dwayne Allen|
At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Christian Jones is a freak. The former five-star from Orlando and son of FSU legend and Oakland Raider all-pro Willie Jones has lived up to the lofty expectations so far.FSU's sophomore linebacker is arguably the best linebacker on one of the best defenses in the country. His ability to set the edge against an opposing tight end from his linebacker position forces offenses into looks they'd prefer not to run. Christian Jones also has the ability to play in space -- something pretty rare for a man of his size in the college game. Everyone expects that Jones will be a first rounder and an early entry. Clemson certainly hasn't seen a player like Jones so far this season.
But the 'Noles also haven't yet seen anything like what Clemson has in junior tight end Dwayne Allen. Like Jones, Allen was a mega-recruit. He also has a freakish combination of size and speed at 6'4" and 255 pounds. According to the Clemson experts at ShakinTheSouthland, Allen occasionally has issues with effort. But when he is playing at full effort, as he did last week against Auburn (7 catches), he's one of if not the best tight ends in the country. Clemson players have a habit of taking games off against lesser opponents, but they always bring it against FSU. Don't expect Allen's effort to be an issue come Saturday.
Jones is one of the few outside backers in the country who can cause Allen problems even when Allen comes to play. Most teams are forced to devote a lot of attention to a tight end the quality of Allen, but FSU will probably try to use only Jones against him early on. If it works, FSU will be able to focus more on Clemson's explosive receivers. Of course, with Clemson's offense, Allen is moved around quite a bit and Jones won't draw Allen on each snap. The battle of these unique players and future pros will be one of the most exciting and important in Saturday's game.
Photo credit: Getty Images and Mark Cramer AP