2019 Clemson Football Season Preview
Clemson football is good, like really good. The reigning national champs are locked, loaded and ready to repeat…
2018 Record: 15-0 overall, 8-0 in ACC
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney, 12th year, 116-30
You know the name, Trevor Lawrence–he would’ve been the number one overall pick this past year if he were allowed to declare for the NFL Draft–he would be the number one overall pick if he were allowed to declare this year (he’s not)–he’s the destined number one overall pick in 2021 when he is finally eligible to declare. Either way, the guy who took the college football world by storm last season is ready to do it again in 2019.
The 6-6, 215-pounder wasn’t perfect, but he was close, throwing for 3,280 yards and 30 touchdowns and four picks as he led the Tigers to the national title as a true freshman.
Travis Etienne could be the best running back in college football–he ran for 1.658 yards and 24 touchdowns last year averaging eight yards per carry. The junior can be the workhorse for the Tigers, but they have talent and depth behind him–specifically, sophomore Lyn-J Dixon who ran for 547 yards and five scores, last year while averaging close to nine yards per carry.
Then there are the wideouts–sophomore Justyn Ross averaged close to 22 yards per catch with a team-high 1000 yards, 6-4, 205-pound junior Tee Higgins led the team with 59 catches and 12 touchdowns–and is widely considered to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft after this season is over. Diondre Overton caught 14 passes with three scores and Dabo recruited five-star Joe Nagata who will be too talented to leave on the sidelines.
The offensive line returns three starters and if you haven’t figured out by now, the Tigers are deep, so the two starters they lost will be replaced by potential All-Conference picks. Nothing to worry about.
The Clemson defense from a season ago is mostly in the NFL–but there is uber-talent waiting in the wings.
Clelin Ferrel, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant were extremely talented and now gone.
Xavier Thomas was one of last year’s superstar recruits, and now the 6-2, 260-pound sophomore will get a full-time end job after making 35 tackles with 3.5 sacks as a true freshman.
6-2, 265-pound junior Justin Foster made 18 tackles and will work on the other end with 6-2, 240-pound sophomore Logan Rudolph and 6-4, 240-pound redshirt freshman KJ Henry – who was right there with Thomas in last year’s recruiting class – will battle for time.
The linebacking corps lost Shaq Smith as he transferred to Maryland and the duo of Kendall Joseph and Tre Lamar are off to the NFL.
Isaiah Simmons returns after leading the team with 89 tackles, and Chad Smith will battle for the inside job after making 32 tackles last season. Junior James Skalski at 240-pounds brings size and a little experience after doing a decent job in the rotation in 2017 and redshirting last year.
The lifeblood of this defense however, lies in their secondary.
The safeties are led by 5-11, 210-pound hitter K’Von Wallace and 6-1, 230-pound banger Tanner Muse back after the two combined for 114 tackles.
The corners feature future top draft pick AJ Terrell and part-time receiver Derion Kendrick, who will step into a starting role and ultimately shine.
There’s depth and a whole lot of talent waiting in the wings, helped out by—yep, you guessed it–a great recruiting class.
As long as Trevor Lawrence is healthy and rocking, this team will be a No.1 or No.2 seed in the College Football Playoff.
Record: Undefeated regular season and a showdown in the championship of the College Football Playoff.