Clemson Football Predictions

Written by Vegas Top Cappers | August 1, 2013

2013 Clemson Football Predictions

The biggest and best news over the off-season was the return of QB Tahj Boyd for his senior season. With 36 TD passes and 3,896 yards in 2012, Boyd led the Tigers to an 11-2 W-L mark, finishing it off with an upset over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The 11 total victories were the most for Clemson since their 1981 National Championship season. Head coach Dabo Swinney is also a major plus for the Tigers as he prepares for his fifth full season as Top Tiger.

Tahj Boyd’s return isn’t the only reason Clemson fans are eagerly anticipating the 2013 season. Roderick McDowell is slated to step into Andre Ellington’s shoes and approach the same numbers, while behind him is D.J. Howard and Zac Brooks, both highly-recruited and experienced.

Other than Boyd, the real Mr. Excitement this fall in Tigertown is junior WR Sammy Watkins, who due to off-field issues and lingering injuries didn’t enjoy as much success as during his spectacular freshman season in 2011. Watkins is a threat to go the distance every time he gets the football, and with record-setting WR DeAndre Hopkins departed early for the NFL, Watkins’ touches should increase this fall. Other experienced wideouts returning include Adam Humphries, Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake, giving Boyd almost unlimited options through the air. Four starters return up front from a unit that put up 41 points a game on 512 yards per contest.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venable developed a unit last fall that improved almost from week to week, culminating in holding LSU to a measly 219 yards of offense. There were some critical personnel losses, but also plenty of blue-chip recruits chomping at the bit to make their mark this fall. DE Vic Beasley recorded eight sacks in limited playing time and looks to increase that number.

On the inside, the big and athletic trio of Grady Jarrett, Josh Watson and DeShawn Williams are skilled at clogging up running routes and wreaking havoc among offensive blocking schemes. Spencer Shuey and Stephone Anthony head up a deep group of linebackers, while if there’s an Achille’s heel on this Clemson squad, it’s in the secondary, which was burned by the deep ball far too often in 2012. Freshman All-American Travis Blanks was the top performer along the back line last fall, and he returns to continue his ascent to becoming the next All-American Clemson DB. Robert Smith, Darius Robinson and Martin Jenkins return, but they need to step up their development as well as avoid injuries that had an effect late last season.

The hero of the bowl win over LSU, senior PK Chandler Catanzaro is back, and his 18-for-19 FG success rate last fall places him among the nation’s elite. Bradley Pinion is expected to handle both punting and kickoff duties.

Clemson is an overwhelming pick to rule the ACC in 2013, and after opening at home versus Georgia, the Tigers’ schedule is extremely friendly, with Florida State having to come to Death Valley in mid-October. Other than closing at South Carolina, the Tigers could very easily run the table if a few breaks go their way.

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