Location: Clemson, SC
Coach: Dabo Swinney (101-30) 10th Season at Clemson
Stadium: Memorial Stadium (Capacity 81,500)
1rd: ACC (1st in Atlantic Division)
1st: South Carolina
2nd: Division I
2017 In a Sentence: Clemson followed up their 2016 National Championship with another strong season, winning the ACC, but losing to Alabama in the national semifinal.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: The Tigers were a fairly young team in 2017. One of the contributing seniors was WR/PR Ray Ray McCloud. With 49 catches for 503 yards and a touchdown McCloud was one the top targets that QB Kelly Bryant looked to. McCloud’s best game was against Louisville where he racked up 7 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. He was also the team’s main punt returner where he added another touchdown among his 25 returns averaging a solid 12.7 yards per return.
Key Player: As a true freshman, RB Travis Etienne was the number one back for Clemson. Etienne is an explosive back who ran for 781 yards on 7.2 yards per carry adding in 13 touchdowns. He was also the team’s primary kickoff return man. As a sophomore, Etienne will be ready to carry even more of the load in the run game and should easily eclipse the 1000 yard mark.
Fearless Prediction: Kelly Bryant has won the starting QB job but freshman Trevor Lawrence will push
him hard and may be the started by the end of the season. Clemson is again a National Championship
contender with no holes at any part of their team.
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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