CLEMSON, SC (WACH) - Clemson's starting tight end Sam Cooper and reserve quarterback Chad Kelly both suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments in Saturday's spring football game.
Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney confirmed the injuries Monday afternoon. The injuries happened in the first quarter just nine plays apart.
The status for both players in 2013 isn't clear at this point.
"This is very difficult for both players," said Swinney. "Both had really worked hard and done well this spring," said Swinney.
Cooper was injured after making a five-yard yard reception from Kelly on the 11th play of the scrimmage. Cooper played in all 13 games last season, starting three, and had 10 catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
He was listed as Clemsons first-team tight end for 2013. As far as Sam Cooper is concerned, this was certainly going to be his time at tight end. We have had quite a run of production at tight end the last few years with Michael Palmer, Dwayne Allen and Brandon Ford," said Swinney. "Sam is the most experienced tight end we have and this is a tough loss. He was coming into his own. We have some young, talented tight ends who are now going to have to step up."
Clemson tight ends have caught 218 passes for 2,474 yards and 32 touchdowns over the last four seasons. The Tigers have had three first-team All-ACC tight ends in three of the last four years.
Kelly suffered his injury just nine plays after Cooper, when he made a 17-yard run. Kelly finished the day 6-7 for 43 yards passing and a touchdown. He red-shirted last season.
"I feel badly for Chad because he was doing very well picking up the offense," said Swinney. "He was off to a great start in the spring game. This will make us thin at quarterback with just two on scholarship in 2013."
Offensive lineman Kalon Davis also suffered a knee injury in the first quarter, but his injury is not serious.