Dabo Swinney Enters the 2013-2014 Campaign with his Best Team Yet

Jul 18, 2013

Clemson’s national title hopes are contingent upon the continued growth of quarterback Tajh Boyd, who finished last season with 3,896 yards (67.2%; 36-13 ratio; #2 rusher with 514 yards).  Boyd became the first conference player ever to compile 4,000 yards of total offense in two seasons.  Boyd is a legitimate Heisman Trophy who takes the field with an outstanding receiving corp. that is led by Sammy Watkins, who was injured last season but garnered 1,219 yards (14.9) in 2011.  Watkins is one of the fastest wide receivers in college football as evidenced by the fact that his 10-yard split time of 1.47 is faster than C.J. Spiller’s.  Boyd is also aided by a veteran offensive line the returns nine of its top ten performers from last season (64 career starts), including Tyler Shatley and Brandon Thomas.  While Clemson’s offense will receive much of the preseason attention, it’s defense is also formidable.  The Tiger’s defensive line is one of the best in the nation as it returns ten of the top 11 players from 2012.

CLEMSON TIGERS (Position-by-Position Analysis)

Quarterbacks – return starter T.Boyd (3,896, 67.2%, 36-13 & #2 rusher (514)) & b/u
Senior Boyd is CU’s career #2 passer & legit Heisman contender

Running Backs – lose strtr (NFL); return #2 RB (LY QB was #2 rusher); unclear who will be feature back – C/B one of 2 VHT frosh

Receivers – lose #1 & 3 WRs (1 to NFL) & TE strtr; ’11’s #1 WR S.Watkins returns (inj LY)
one of ACC’s top recving corps

Offensive Line – lose 1 strtr from exc unit (191 ypg, 4.2, 31 sks); return 9 of top 10; one of ACC’s top O-lines (64 car sts return)

Defensive Line – lose 1 strtr (NFL); return 10 of top 11 (allw’d 156 ypg, 4.2, 34 sks); lot more experience

Linebackers – lose 1 strtr (#1 tklr); return 4 of top 6 (24.8 ppg LY); w/2 strtrs back & another nw/21 car sts, look for continued improved play

Defensive Backs – lose 3 strtrs (1 to NFL) from LY’s inj unit (#65 ranking); less exper but S/B healthier & climb in rankings TY

Special Teams – LY rank #60 due to subpar coverage units; lose long K; expect bigger impact w/KR Watkins back

Coaches – HC D.Swinney enters 6th yr (prev WR cch); OC C.Morris enters 3rd yr & is highest paid asst in CFB; DC B.Venables enters 2nd yr (prev DC at Okla, 12 yrs)

Overall Offensive NCAA projections – #10 pas ypg,#11 ppg,#9 ttl ypg;ACCproj#5 rush ypg,#1 pass ypg,#2 ppg

  • 6 starters return

Overall Defensive ACC projections – #5 rush ypg, #6 pass ypg, #3 ppg

  • 6 starters return Rank

Experience Rank – 67 (of all NCAA FBS tms)

  • O/S QB Boyd & WR return; HC’s best tm yet
  • darkhorse Nat’l Title contender

Team Positive/Negative Factors -Impact for 2012

Net Close Wins/Losses – 2 close wins, 0 close losses last year
Schedule – 55th hardest; play UGA & SC from SEC