#10 Clemson Football 2015 Preview

Clemson Tigers

Overall Rank: #10
#1 ACC

Clemson Team Page#10 Clemson Football 2015 PreviewBuy Clemson Football Tickets

Under the direction of head coach Dabo Swinney, the Clemson Tigers have consistently been a threat to win ten games and finish the season in the top ten. But one thing is missing and that is an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. With Florida State in a reloading mode this season, the door is wide open for the Tigers to win the conference championship in 2015.

2014 Record: 10-3, 6-2
2014 Bowl: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Oklahoma W (40-6)
Coach: Dabo Swinney 61-26 at Clemson, 61-26 overall
Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Venables

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Wayne Gallman, RB, 769 yards
Passing: Deshaun Watson, QB, 1,466 yards
Receiving: Mike Williams, WR, 1,030 yards
Tackles: Jayron Kearse, S, 60
Sacks: Shaq Lawson, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Two players with 2 each

Other Key Returnees: WR Artavis Scott, C Ryan Norton, WR Charone Peake, TE Jordan Leggett, DT D.J. Reader, DT Carlos Watkins, CB Mackensie Alexander, LB B.J. Goodson

Key Losses: DE Vic Beasley, LB Stephone Anthony, LB/NB Korrin Wiggins (knee injury), LT Isaiah Battle, NT Grady Jarrett, OLB Tony Steward, P Bradley Pinion

Deshaun Watson is an incredible dual-threat talent at quarterback, but the question is going to be whether or not he can stay healthy. The key to keeping Watson healthy will be the offensive line that did lose Isaiah Battle to the supplemental draft over the summer. Incoming freshman Mitch Hyatt is a high touted recruit that could be forced into action very early at left tackle. The overall stable of running backs and wide receivers is deep enough to cause defenses plenty of headaches all season long. Mike Williams has the look of the next wide receiver to come out of Clemson as a very high draft pick following in the footsteps of DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Artavis Scott will compliment Williams forcing defensive coordinators to pick their poison as far as whether or not to even bother double teaming Williams or Scott. Also, keep an eye on incoming freshmen Ray-Ray McCloud and Deon Cain, who along with senior Charone Peake, will provide great targets for Watson to throw the ball to. Ammon Lakip made 75 percent of his field goal attempts last season and will be counted on heavily to come up big in tight games in 2015.

Replacing the production of Vic Beasley is not going to be easy as it will be up to Shaq Lawson and others to pick up the slack for a defense that lost eight starters. The injury to Korrin Wiggins in the secondary early on in training camp is another big blow that will test the depth of Clemson defensively. Safety Jadar Johnson is going to have to ramp up his production when it comes to interceptions and see if he can’t get that number closer to five. Another key to the season is going to be avoiding an early season loss. The opening road trip to Louisville on a Thursday night could be a potential trap game for the Tigers if they are not careful.

The Bottom Line:
On paper Clemson should be better than everyone on their schedule in the regular season especially with Florida State coming to Memorial Stadium on November 7th. However, championships are not won on paper and it will be interesting to see how the Tigers will handle being the hunted instead of the hunter. Overall, the schedule is fairly forgiving as several key opponents do come to Clemson in 2015. Playing Notre Dame and Georgia Tech consecutively in the first two weeks of October at home is going to swing the season for Clemson. You get those two games and the path is set to get to the showdown with the Seminoles for the defacto ACC Atlantic Division Title game. In the end, the overall consistency of winning ten games in each of the last four seasons will result in Clemson making a trip to the ACC Championship game as their time has come to take the next step and be in the college football playoff discussion. The only thing that will truly get in a way is an injury to Deshaun Watson. Other than that, the talent is in place everywhere else.

Projected Bowl: Peach Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 146.5 (88th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 261.8 (38, 3)
Total Offense: 408.3 (58, 7)
Scoring Offense: 30.8 (51, 7)
Rushing Defense: 103.4 (5, 2)
Pass Defense: 157.4 (2, 1)
Total Defense: 260.8 (1, 1)
Scoring Defense: 16.7 (3, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.46 (33, 2)
Sacks: 3.46 (6, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (64, 9)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#74 MacKensie Alexander
#80 Shaq Lawson

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#22 Mitch Hyatt
#24 Deon Cain
#27 Christian Wilkins
#83 Ray-Ray McCloud III
#106 Albert Huggins
#107 Jake Fruhmorgan
#115 Mark Fields
#135 Chad Smith
#146 Garrett Williams
#152 Clelin Ferrell
#186 Austin Bryant


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