This past week brought sad news to Gamecock nation regarding tight end Kiel Pollard.
After a productive junior-season and an optimistic recovery projection for a neck injury, a cyst was found on his spinal cord, effectively forcing the senior TE to retire from football.
This comes as a huge loss for a young man that Coach Muschamp has said was, “primed to have a great senior year and continue to play after college.”
Despite this, Muschamp responded by offering him a position within the staff, something that will certainly help jump-start his coaching career after graduation.
Although this is an incredible sign of both gratitude and faith in his future potential, the practical implications of losing a player like Pollard will surely sting for some time.
Especially considering that there is no clear cut second option behind him.
Because of improved recruiting, there are potential candidates on the roster. However, injuries, lack of experience, and transfer rules could turn the once loaded position into a clear weak spot.
If, however, transfer Nick Muse gets a chance to play this season, those woes could subside and the start of a special journey could be underway.
A journey that ends in an impassioned sibling rivalry and a lifetime of bragging rights between brothers.
A quick look at Muse shows that he has the size and strength to make an immediate impact on the field.
Standing at 6’5″, Muse looks like a leaner version of Hayden Hurst— which in case you forgot, he was a beast.
Film of the former William & Mary TE shows raw athleticism, unrelenting physical power, and the same competitive fire that his brother— Clemson starting safety—Tanner Muse is known for.
Coach Bentley even went so far as to say that Muse has an “alpha male” quality to him, adding that, “he is really going to be special.”
With the skill, physical attributes and mental edge that Muse brings to the table, he could be poised to not only supply depth at tight end, but perhaps even become a featured go-to threat in the passing game, much like Hurst.
It’s clear that the upside is there, but unfortunately, the only thing that could prevent this from happening is the one thing that Muse cannot directly control: the NCAA’s decision.
Because Muse is a transfer, he is technically required to sit out a year.
Knowing this, he filed a request for a waiver that would allow him to take the field in 2019, but as of yet, nothing has been decided.
Typically this may not be an issue, especially since Muse has the eligibility to spare.
However, if he does end up cleared to play, it could lead to a special opportunity for the North Carolina native, a chance to go against his big brother.
Although Muse says there’s “no rivalry against brothers,” he still knows that facing-off against Tanner at least once would, “be a big deal.”
Tanner, who is a senior and 2-time national champion, wants the opportunity before he completes his career at Clemson as much as Nick does. If it happens, their respective positions on the field could further add to the intrigue.
With Nick at tight end and Tanner at safety, there’s a good chance that the brother’s paths would collide, literally, and you better believe neither brother would want to give an inch.
Although Tanner is older, at six foot two inches tall, he’s no longer the bigger brother, which is why I like Nick’s chances to win that match up.
So far Nick Muse has said and done all of the right things to make that dream come true.
It’s evident from his hard work and positive mentality that he, at the very least, deserves a chance to earn playing time in 2019.
However, even if the NCAA’s decision is not what Muse and the coaching staff want to hear, he assures fans that he will take that year-off in stride and get “bigger, faster, [and] stronger.”
That’s the attitude of a winner.