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With multiple stars off to NFL, Clemson’s 2021 starting lineup will look like this

Football at Clemson resumes this week because the Tigers are set to start spring observe Wednesday.

Dabo Swinney’s squad will have a number of new faces in key starting positions in 2021, most notably quarterback and working again with Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne off to the NFL.

Still, Clemson has a number of key items returning, together with star wideout Justyn Ross and defensive chief James Skalski.

Speaking of protection, Brent Venables returns virtually everybody on his unit, with linebacker Mike Jones Jr. being the one starter who’s not on the staff. Jones Jr. transferred to LSU this offseason.

With spring observe starting up, here’s a look at what Clemson’s starting lineup may look like subsequent season:

Clemson roster: Projecting starters on offense

Quarterback — D.J. Uiagalelei: The sophomore is anticipated to be the subsequent nice QB at Clemson, following within the footsteps of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. Uiagalelei actually seemed the half in restricted enjoying time final season, finishing 67 p.c of his passes for 914 yards, with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw for 781 yards and 4 scores in his two begins in opposition to Boston College and Notre Dame.

Running again — Lyn-J Dixon: This is much from a lock to be Dixon’s job, however he’s the chief heading into the spring. Dixon was the No. 2 again behind Travis Etienne final yr and performed properly late within the season after some nagging accidents slowed him early on. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry the ultimate three video games of the season.

Wide receiver — Justyn Ross: Clemson’s high wideout missed all of final yr after present process surgical procedure for a congenital fusion in his backbone, however the hope is he will be cleared by the beginning of the 2021 season. If so, he ought to resume his place as among the finest receivers within the nation.

Wide receiver — E.J. Williams: An Alabama native who attended the identical highschool as Ross, Williams got here on sturdy on the finish of final yr and will make one other soar this offseason. He had a breakout sport in final yr’s ACC title sport in opposition to Notre Dame, hauling in 4 passes for 80 yards and a landing. Williams began the ultimate 4 video games of his freshman season.

Wide receiver — Joseph Ngata: Clemson’s teaching workers has raved about Ngata since he stepped on campus in January of 2019, however he has been unable to dwell up to the monster expectations. The California native has solely 24 receptions in 22 video games thus far in his faculty profession. He battled accidents many of the 2020 season earlier than having surgical procedure in November. The hope is that Ngata will be absolutely healed and in line for an enormous 2021 season.

Tight finish — Braden Galloway: The senior began all 12 video games for the Tigers final season and caught 27 passes for 369 yards. He nonetheless has some work to do as a blocker however ought to be an under-the-radar weapon for Uiagalelei in 2021.

Left deal with — Jordan McFadden: With Jackson Carman off to the NFL, McFadden might slide over from his spot because the starting proper deal with and be in command of defending Uiagalelei’s blind aspect. The Dorman product has performed a restricted quantity of snaps at left deal with throughout his profession.

Left guard — Matt Bockhorst: The senior began all 12 video games final yr and was named second-team All-ACC. He will be one of many leaders on the o-line.

Center — Mason Trotter: The sophomore hasn’t locked this place down by any means, however he’s the favourite proper now. Trotter performed 147 snaps as a backup in 2020, together with 46 at Notre Dame.

Right guard — Will Putnam: The Tampa native began all 12 video games for the Tigers in 2020 and will maintain down a starting spot once more this season.

Right deal with — Walker Parks: The sophomore was named a freshman All-American by ESPN after enjoying 199 snaps over 11 video games in 2020. Parks was ranked as the No. 50 overall player in the country by the 247Sports Composite rankings for the category of 2020.

Clemson roster: Projecting starters on protection

Defensive finish — Justin Foster: He missed the entire 2020 season due to “protocol,” but when Foster is wholesome and in a position to play he ought to present a a lot wanted increase to Clemson’s defensive entrance in 2021. Foster led Clemson’s line of defense in tackles for loss in 2019 earlier than lacking final season.

Defensive deal with — Bryan Bresee: The No. 1 total recruit for the category of 2020 lived up to the hype in his freshman season, incomes freshman All-American honors after recording 6.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Bresee was additionally named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. The sophomore ought to take an enormous step ahead in 2021 after spending one other offseason in Clemson’s program.

Defensive deal with — Tyler Davis: He battled accidents final season however was disruptive when he was on the sector, ending with 5 tackles for loss in seven video games. The junior ought to be among the finest defensive linemen within the ACC in 2021 if he can keep wholesome.

Defensive finish — Myles Murphy: The freshman All-American and ACC Newcomer of the Year led Clemson with 12 tackles for loss in 2020. If his freshman season was any indication, It seems as if Murphy goes to be the subsequent nice go rusher at Clemson.

SAM linebacker — Trenton Simpson: With Jones Jr. transferring on, Simpson ought to transfer right into a full-time starting function. Simpson appeared in all 12 video games final yr as a freshman, making three begins. The Charlotte native had 6.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. He is flexible and explosive.

MIKE linebacker — James Skalski: Clemson’s defensive chief is again for a sixth season after recording 44 tackles, with 3.5 tackles for loss final yr. Skalski, who has been described by Dabo Swinney because the “heart and soul” of Clemson’s protection, had a irritating 2020 season that included lacking time due to accidents and being ejected within the Sugar Bowl for focusing on. If he can keep on the sector in 2021 he ought to be a distinction maker for Venables’ unit.

WILL linebacker — Baylon Spector: The Georgia native thought-about leaving early for the NFL however ought to profit from one other yr at school. In his first season as a starter, Spector earned second-team All-ACC honors, led the Tigers in tackles with 72 and had 10.5 tackles for loss.

Cornerback — Derion Kendrick: The Rock Hill native had a forgettable Sugar Bowl in opposition to Ohio State (as did many of the Clemson protection) however he’s nonetheless the most effective cornerback on the staff and among the finest within the nation. Kendrick was thought-about to be a possible first-round choose if he left early following the 2020 season. He can actually play his manner into the primary spherical with a powerful efficiency in 2021.

Strong security — Lannden Zanders: Another participant who battled accidents final season, Zanders was lower than 100% within the Sugar Bowl and it confirmed. He had shoulder surgical procedure shortly after the season ended. If he can get wholesome and keep wholesome, Zanders ought to lock down a starting function. With that mentioned, it’s removed from a assure after the safeties struggled mightily in opposition to the Buckeyes.

Free security — Nolan Turner: Another participant who’s again for a sixth season, Turner will be the chief of the secondary in 2021. He was named a second-team All-American final yr after ending with 66 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and a team-high three interceptions.

Cornerback — Andrew Booth: The junior made loads of highlight-reel performs in 2020. Now he should concentrate on being extra constant. If he can enhance in that space, he has an opportunity to problem Kendrick as the most effective cornerback on the staff and arguably within the ACC.

Clemson Tigers 2021 soccer schedule

Sept. 4: Georgia (Charlotte)

Sept. 11: vs. South Carolina State

Sept. 18: vs. Georgia Tech

Sept. 25: at NC State

Oct. 2: vs. Boston College

Oct. 9: OPEN

Oct. 15 (Fri): at Syracuse

Oct. 23: at Pitt

Oct. 30: vs. Florida State

Nov. 6: at Louisville

Nov. 13: vs. UConn

Nov. 20: vs. Wake Forest

Nov. 27: at South Carolina

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Matt Connolly is the Clemson University sports activities beat author and covers faculty athletics for The State newspaper and TheState.com. Connolly graduated from USC Upstate in Spartanburg in 2011 and beforehand labored for The (Spartanburg) Herald Journal overlaying University of South Carolina athletics. He has been with The State since 2015. Connolly obtained an APSE high 10 award for beat reporting for his protection of Clemson in 2019. He has additionally obtained a number of SCPA awards, together with high sports activities characteristic in 2019.
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