#9 Clemson Football 2013 Preview

Clemson Tigers

Overall Rank: #9
#1 ACC

Clemson Team Page#9 Clemson Football 2013 PreviewBuy Clemson Football Tickets

Clemson finished the 2012 season with a nice 11-2 record and beat LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. However, the goal was to win the ACC and Florida State got in the way of that. Once again the road to the ACC championship game will go through the Seminoles, but this time the game is not at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU must come to Clemson and that October 19th matchup will likely decide the Atlantic Division champion.

2012 Record: 11-2, 7-1
2012 Bowl: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. LSU (W 25-24)
Coach: Dabo Swinney (40-21 at Clemson, 40-21 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Chad Morris
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Venables

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tajh Boyd, QB, 514 yards
Passing: Tajh Boyd, QB, 3,896 yards
Receiving: Sammy Watkins, WR, 708 yards
Tackles: Spencer Shuey, LB, 93
Sacks: Vic Beasley, DE, 8.0
Interceptions: Stephone Anthony, LB, 1; Quandon Christian, LB, 1; Gary Peters, CB, 1

Other Key Returnees: RB Roderick McDowell, WR Matavis Bryant, OL Brandon Thomas, OL David Beasley, OL Tyler Shatley, OL Gifford Timothy, DT Josh Watson, S Travis Blanks, K Chandler Catanzaro

Key Losses: RB Andre Ellington, TE Brandon Ford, WR DeAndre Hopkins, WR Jaron Brown, C Dalton Freeman, DL Malliciah Goodman, LB Jonathan Willard, S Jonathan Meeks, S Rashard Hall, DB Xavier Brewer

With Tajh Boyd leading the way, Clemson should once again eclipse the 40 points per game mark. Boyd, a senior signal caller, threw for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2012. He also rushed for 514 yards with ten more trips to the end zone. Boyd will not have wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back Andre Ellington to work with anymore, but the Tigers are still loaded with weapons. With injuries and suspensions, Sammy Watkins had a bit of a sophomore slump, catching 57 passes for 708 yards and three touchdowns. Considering he tallied 1,219 receiving yards with a dozen scores as a freshman, there were extremely high expectations to live up to. Watkins is healthy and eligible now, so expect a season more like 2011 than 2012. Charone Peake is a big target and a big play receiver and Adam Humphries is emerging as a solid pass catcher. Boyd will not be lacking in quality targets any time soon. Roderick McDowell is the experienced back, although he has yet to live up to his potential. Behind an experienced and talented offensive line that returns four starters, Coach Dabo Swinney will fine a quality back who can move the chains even if he does need to call on some younger options.

The fact that Clemson allowed just 24.85 points per game in 2012 is quite impressive. The unit allowed nearly 400 yards, which is not very good, but they often bent but did not break. When the defense did break it was due to a big play in the passing game. And there is not much experience returning. Sophomore Travis Blanks and junior Robert Smith are the likely starters at safety. Blanks did start eight games as a freshman and tallied 51 tackles and seven pass breakups. The situation at corner is even more of a mess. Garry Peters earned five starts as a sophomore, yet Bashaud Breeland, Darius Robinson and Martin Jenkins are all pushing him for playing time. Getting some new faces in the secondary is nice, but in the end the unit could be worse than a year ago. However, a more experienced front seven should help. End Vic Beasley totaled a team high eight sacks as a sophomore and he will be joined by fellow juniors Corey Crawford, Grady Jarrett and Josh Watson on the line. The linebackers are probably the most talented unit on the defensive side of the ball. Spencer Shuey will move to the outside to replace departed leading tackler Jonathan Willard, with part-time starter Stephone Anthony moving into the middle full-time.

The Bottom Line:
It will be very interesting to see how the defense grows throughout the 2013 campaign. Last year this was a Clemson squad that spent a lot of time getting in the opposing quarterback’s face, but even that was not enough to save the secondary. This new look secondary should again be given plenty of help from the front seven, but they may have the same problem. Meanwhile, Boyd will have a Heisman type of season and Watkins is going to be much more dangerous this year and the offense alone can win most games. But to beat teams like Georgia, Florida State and South Carolina, the Tigers must limit the big plays they allow through the air.

Projected Bowl: Orange Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 191.08 (36th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 321.62 (13, 1)
Total Offense: 512.69 (9, 1)
Scoring Offense: 41.00 (6, 1)
Rushing Defense: 155.92 (57, 8)
Pass Defense: 240.31 (71, 6)
Total Defense: 396.23 (63, 7)
Scoring Defense: 24.85 (48, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.15 (50, 5)
Sacks: 2.62 (22, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.38 (85, 9)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#15 Sammy Watkins
#35 Tajh Boyd

Madness 2013 Football Recruit Rankings:
#21 MacKensie Alexander
#111 Dorian O'Daniel
#118 Tyrone Crowder
#216 Tyshon Dye
#241 Jayron Kearse


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