The Clemson Tigers will look to avoid a significant drop-off in 2014 after their Orange Bowl victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes last season. Clemson will move forward without several of yesterday’s stars, including QB Tajh Boyd, but the program has done a good job of preparing for this thanks to the recruiting prowess of head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff.
The cupboard is stocked, but they may still turn to a couple of their incoming freshman to bolster the ranks.
With Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant departing, the Tigers will need a couple of receivers to try to make up the nearly 2,300 receiving yards that those two accounted for. Wide receiver can be a tough spot for a true freshman to come in and make an early impact, but Artavis Scott was one of the gems of Clemson’s recruiting class and he enrolled early for spring practice.
Scott also fits the Watkins mold. At 5-foot-10, he is a bit undersized, but he is an explosive runner. He chose the Tigers over a long list of great offers including the Florida Gators, the Auburn Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles.
Picking a candidate for the defense is a bit trickier. The Tigers should have one of the best defensive lines in the country this year. They also have plenty of depth at linebacker. The main area of concern for Clemson’s defense this season looks like the cornerback position, and somewhat strangely, the Tigers did not take a cornerback in this year’s recruiting class.
In fact, they only took one defensive back in safety Jeff Gibson. Gibson was a three-star prospect in 247Sports’ composite rankings and selected Clemson over offers from the North Carolina Tar Heels and the NC State Wolfpack. Gibson is not as highly-touted as some other recruits, but in a class where most of the star power will end up with the offense, he may be only true freshman with a decent opportunity for significant playing time.