The Clemson Tigers have experienced some legitimate success during the past two seasons. With a record of 21-6 since 2011, the Tigers have been on the cusp of a national championship appearance, but they have fallen short when it counted. Head coach Dabo Swinney will be looking to change that and make a run at the ACC championship and more in 2013.
The Tigers have a good offensive base to help boost them to new levels this fall. Versatile senior quarterback Tahj Boyd returns after posting 3,896 passing yards and 36 touchdowns as well as 514 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Boyd could be a serious Heisman Trophy contender in 2013 and will be the leader of the Tigers on offense. The Tigers also return explosive junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who had a somewhat disappointing season last year with only 708 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Watkins will be looking to improve greatly this year, and it will be no surprise if he does.
The Tigers’ defense should be pretty stingy with six returning starters and four more defensive players that played in four or more games last year. After finishing last season ranked 22nd in sacks, second-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables will be looking to improve yet again this year. Junior defensive tackle Josh Watson led the team with 54 tackles last year and will be a leader on the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers this fall. Also, sophomore safety Travis Blanks had 51 tackles last year and showed a lot of promise.
If the Tigers want to make a national championship run, they will have to improve on both sides of the ball, but it’s clear that they are a frontrunner for the ACC title in 2013, and if things fall into place, they will have a shot at the national championship.
Weston Wilson is a college football and Major League Baseball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter: @westonw90