Clemson Football’s 5 Most Intriguing Players Heading into 2014
5 Clemson Tigers To Keep An Eye on Heading Into the 2014 Season
We've already covered five positional battles to keep an eye on during Clemson football’s spring practice. Even though Clemson got beat soundly at home by eventual national champion Florida State and failed for the fourth straight year to beat in-state rival South Carolina, the Tigers still had a really good season. Clemson went 11-2 and beat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
With the overall success the Tigers enjoyed last season came a lot of turnover this offseason — especially on offense, where only four starters are returning in 2014. Clemson fans enjoyed watching a fantastic offense in 2013, led by QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins. Clemson averaged 40.2 points per game. Boyd and Watkins are both in this year’s NFL draft, so neither will be suiting up for the Tigers in 2014.
Clemson also lost some starters from last year’s defense, including cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Darius Robinson.
Who is going to step up to fill the voids left by the players who are no longer at Clemson? Will it be upperclassmen, or will some of the 2014 recruits step up and get a chance to prove themselves on the field?
Every season, there are fascinating players to watch on every team for a variety of reasons and Clemson is no different. Fans can feel a player is fascinating for various reasons, including offseason issues, an inconsistent prior season, a fantastic previous season, or because they were a highly touted recruit and fans are anxious to see how they perform.
Click on to see who I think are five of the most intriguing Tigers heading into the 2014 season.
5. David Beasley, Shaq Anthony, Garry Peters and Corey Crawford
Okay, I cheated a little bit on this one since I listed four players, but they all have to be discussed together. All four have been suspended for the season opener on Aug. 30 against Georgia due to a “violation of team rules,” the Clemson athletic department said in a release. Crawford, a defensive end, and Beasley, an offensive guard, were both starters in 2013, while Anthony and Peters were reserves. While it doesn't seem like this will be a huge deal at this point, it will be interesting to see how these four handle themselves leading up to the beginning of the season and after their suspension.
4. Chad Morris
I know Morris is the offensive coordinator for the Tigers so he is not a player, but he is very intriguing because only four starters are returning on offense for the Tigers. It will be very interesting to see if Morris can keep the offense clicking and scoring at an impressive clip.
3. Jordan Leggett
True, Clemson has two 2014 commits in Milan Richard and Cannon Smith at the tight end position, but I am more interested in seeing if Leggett will step up and become a starter in his second season with the Tigers. Leggett had 12 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in 2013 over 10 games (one start). Jordan is one of Clemson’s most athletic tight ends, and it will be fun to see what he brings to the table in 2014.
2. Adam Humphries
WR DeAndre Hopkins left Clemson for the NFL (plays on the Houston Texans) after the 2012 season. WR Sammy Watkins left the Tigers after the 2013 season to enter the NFL draft. Both are incredible receivers, and Clemson and their fans miss them both. Humphries is the top returning receiver for Clemson and he needs to be reliable to help whoever will taking over at QB for Tajh Boyd.
1. DeShaun Watson
Watson, a 2014 recruit, will be battling Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly (and to some degree Nick Schuessler) for the job of signal caller. Watson was a very highly touted QB coming out of Gainesville (Ga.) High School. Watson was a four-year starter at Gainesville, a team that runs a spread offense similar to Clemson’s. I still believe it is Stoudt’s job to lose, but it will be very interesting to see how Watson develops this season and beyond.