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Jul
05
2016

State of the Program – Clemson Football

Clemson

We continue with our series look at the state of the ACC Football programs – You’ll see writings from all our contributors @Hokiesmash@HereGoJayAgain, and @Res4Six.

Thanks to @HereGoJayAgain for the graphics!

Previous State of Programs

Virginia Tech | Georgia Tech | Boston College | Syracuse | Miami | Wake Forest | Virginia

What’s the Season Outlook for Clemson football?

The season outlook for Clemson football couldn’t be any better. The Tigers finished 2015 ranked #2 in the country after a hard fought loss in the national game to Alabama. The offense returns one of the pre-season Heisman contenders in QB Deshaun Watson, there is skill position talent everywhere, and arguably the best offensive line in the country. If the offense doesn’t average over 40 points a game it would be a surprise.

The defense loses a lot of talent. D-Linemen Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson declared for the NFL draft. CB Mackensie Alexander is also gone. In total the defense only returns only 3 starters. If the Tigers are going to make another run at the national title, the defense will need to come together quickly. As good as it was last year, it showed a disturbing tendency to give up the big play. Clemson fans have a lot of confidence in DC Brent Venables who seems capable of putting together a quality defense no matter what personal losses that side of the ball suffers.

The schedule is not difficult. The Tigers open and close the season with a couple of less than daunting teams in Auburn and South Carolina. The game at Auburn could be problematic if the Tigers sleep-walk through the game. A home game with Louisville can’t be overlooked, but lets be honest the season comes down to a road game against Florida State on October 29th.

That game is a toss-up at the moment, but the Tigers are better at the most important position on the field. That’s quarterback.

Head coach Dabo Swinney has turned the Tigers into one of the very best programs in the country, and the Tigers enter the 2016 season squarely in the national title discussion.

Key Tigers to Watch

QB Deshaun Watson is a given. The Tigers can go as far as he can take them, and judging by the way he shredded apart Alabama’s vaunted defense in the National Title game that’s pretty far. RB Wayne Gallman may the most underrated back in the country, and his hardnosed running style is the perfect compliment to the high-flying Clemson receivers. Offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt is a future All-American, after a rock solid freshman season.

On defense Carlos Watkins and Christian Wilkins look like the next great Clemson defensive linemen.

Key Newcomer

Dexter Lawrence is a 5 star freshman DT, that is going to see plenty of playing time. In the spring game you could see Lawrence’s raw power. He’s unpolished, but he’s a future star. 4 -rtar freshman Trayvon Mullen could see the field early in a depleted secondary.

Predicted Record and Finish in Conference

Predicted record: 12-0 (8-0 ACC); 1st in the Atlantic

Key Swing Games to Watch: Auburn, Louisville, at Florida State

at Auburn

W

Troy

W

South Carolina State

W

at Georgia Tech

W

Louisville

W

at Boston College

W

NC State

W

at Florida State

W

Syracuse

W

Pittsburgh

W

at Wake Forest

W

South Carolina

W

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