Clemson Team Preview
Clemson’s 11-3 record in 2022 marks the program’s 12th consecutive season with a winning record in double figures. Despite the Orange Bowl loss to Tennessee, coach Dabo Swinney did not take the offseason off. To improve the offense, Swinney replaced play-caller Brandon Streeter with TCU’s Garrett Riley.
Cade Klubnik is a talented quarterback for Riley, but the Tigers’ offense as a whole needs to improve. Clemson’s defense is anticipated to be among the best in college football once again despite the loss of a few key cogs.
Cade Klubnik, Clemson’s starting quarterback from the previous season, made a number of inexperienced plays. However, his raw ability shone through in the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl, when he led the Tigers to an average of 340.5 yards of total offense and added an explosive element that former starter DJ Uiagalelei had lacked.
Sophomore Klubnik has no competition for the starting quarterback position at Clemson in 2023. Some of his best offensive players are juniors like running back Will Shipley, wide receiver Antonio Williams, and tight end Jake Briningstool.
Although Clemson lost four All-ACC selections to the NFL Draft, they still have eight returning starters. They will be among the Tigers in 2023 charged with taking Wes Goodwin’s squad from good to great.
Clemson has arguably the best linebacker duo in the NCAA with their juniors Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Clemson defensive tackles Tyler Davis and Ruke Orhorhoro are both returning despite being highly regarded as potential first-round picks in the NFL Draft.
What’s so bad about going 11-3, winning the ACC, and playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game? Enough for Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney to replace Brandon Streeter, his longtime friend and colleague and offensive coordinator, with one of the sport’s top young coaches after just one season.
The high-profile hiring of Riley at Clemson made it plain that the Tigers will be dissatisfied with anything less than a return to a four-team field in 2023. In the ACC, the Tigers might have a slight edge over Florida State. They have enough unpolished talent on their squad to start winning again. What about some consistency, though? That is yet to be determined.
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