DeStefano is finished with football

Patrick DeStefano

CLEMSON - Patrick DeStefano will no longer play football because of lingering affects from stingers in his neck.

Dabo Swinney announced the news after Wednesday afternoon's practice. A redshirt freshman from Dorman High School, Patrick Destefano has had some "lingering stingers."

"In his shoulder…the way they explained, it kind of constantly pinches. It's a lingering affect. It's just one of those things, to get better, he can't be playing football. He's got to avoid those collisions," Swinney said. "He actually said he had some of these in high school and that they would go away.

"It's been a chronic thing here, really [over] the last few weeks."

Last Wednesday, Swinney announced that DeStefano would not travel to Syracuse so he could go through another round of testing to the neck area.

"They wanted to do some type of nerve test last Friday. They did that and the tests didn't come back good," Swinney said. "So, basically, it's a decision that he's made, along with his family. This is the doctor's opinion for him -- that he not play football anymore."

Swinney added, "We don't have anybody on this team that's more committed to being a great football player and more committed to doing it our way than Stef. It's just a shame to lose a guy like that.

"And on his way to being a great player, I really felt like he had a chance to be a very special player for us. It's kind of like when we lost J.K. Jay a few years ago. It's just a shame."

DeStefano's scholarship will still be honored, but it won't be counted against the 85 that Clemson is permitted to carry on its roster.

Travis Blanks practiced on Wednesday and will be available to play on Saturday against Boston College, but the plan is to hold him.

"Where we are with him right now, we're going to play him if we have to," Swinney said. "To be honest, the game's probably going to dictate if or how much he plays. But he is ready to play. He practiced very well today."

Jayron Kearse will start in Blanks' vacant free safety spot.

Ben Boulware will not play on Saturday.

"He's a lot better, still just a little sore, hasn't been able to cut it loose. So, hopefully by Monday, he'll be in much better shape," Swinney said.

After missing the last four games because of a concussion, B.J. Goodson will play.

"It's good to have him back, especially with Ben being out," Swinney said. "It's good to have B.J. He gives us another big body for special teams, especially in a game like this, with the type of personnel they play with, having that big ‘backer.

"He's a big SAM ‘backer for us and can also play MIKE. He gives us a real presence in there at linebacker."

Martin Jenkins is also expected to be available and play, too.

"He practiced today. That guy there, he's just super human. Had surgery on Monday, he's back out there today," Swinney said. "He's got a big, ol' club hand. He's still trying to intercept balls. He'll have a casted thumb and down to his wrist there. He'll have a little bit of a hand where his fingers are."

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