The Clemson Tigers have quite a run the past few seasons. Posting at least 10 win seasons each of the past four is no easy task, even with the relatively easy ACC competition at their back. This coming season they are picked to finish second in the ACC, and are expected to finish 14th in the nation. The one question mark will be their returning start quarterback, Deshaun Watson, who is returning from missing time to a torn ACL. All indications are, however, that he is at full strength, so this certainly bodes will for the psyche of the team. He will be surrounding a squad of highly experienced, skilled, and returning starters. The one downside will be that only two starters return from a defense that was near the top of every statistical category a season ago, but new recruits are poised to step in and make an impact early on.
Clemson has lost their famed offensive coordinator Chad Morris, as he has left the team to be the new head coach at SMU. The offense should remain relatively in check, however, as long as Watson can stay healthy. The coaches were promoted in house in order to retain some continuity, so Clemson fans are hoping that the offense will only get better this coming season, if that is even possible. In eight games last season, Watson threw for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns. He only three two interception, but did miss five games due to injury. Without him, the Tigers struggled, so they will depend on the offensive line heavily this year to protect him. He has two excellent wide receivers to target downfield in Mike Williams and Artavis Scott. Both Combine for 1,995 yards and 14 touchdowns on their was to a most respectable 133 receptions last season.
Last season, the Tigers had the top overall defense in the nation, only giving up a total of 21 yards per game. On top of that, they were no.3 in the nation in scoring defense, only giving up 16.7 points per season. Repeating on that performance would be difficult if they were returning all of their starters, but to lose nearly everyone will be mean there are some tough shoes to fill. Juniors Shaq Lawson and Ben Boulware are ready to step up and be leaders, along with senior B.J. Goodson. With Brent Venables at the helm once again as defensive coordinator, the team should be right back where they were a season ago. If they are, and the quarterback stays healthy, look for Clemson to exceed current expectations.
Head Coach Dabo Swinney will look to lead this Clemson team to a winning record and an invite to a bowl game. This may be a tough task as they face quality opponents such as Notre Dame, Florida State, and South Carolina. Will the Tigers be able to come through this season? They’re sure they will.
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