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Clemson Tigers 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 74
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 20

How does a team respond after losing its game breaking star running back and top two receivers? That is the question facing the Clemson Tigers in 2010. Playmaking runner/receiver/returner C.J. Spiller was a top 10 draft pick, and wide receiver Jacoby Ford and tight end Michael Palmer have also moved on.

Luckily for the Tigers, quarterback Kyle Parker will be returning after throwing 2,526 yards and 20 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. He should be even better as he matures and develops. He will not have the luxury of having Spiller in the backfield, but tailback replacements Jamie Harper and Andre Ellingtonare no slouches. In back up roles last year, they combined for 900 yards rushing and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Replacing the departed receivers will be trickier. Senior Xavier Dye caught the most passes of any returning receiver and he only had 14. Sophomore tight end Dwayne Allen has potential after catching 3 touchdowns on only 10 receptions in 2009. The offensive line returns four starters who boast much experience. The problem is there is almost no depth behind the starters. If injuries hit the guys up front, Clemson’s season could go down the tubes.

Clemson Tigers College Football Cheerleader

The Tigers’ defense will also have to deal with its share of losses. Both starting cornerbacks, two starting linebackers and sack leader Ricky Sapp are gone. Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thompson will be the leaders up front, and Brandon Maye provides some experience at linebacker. All three linebacker spots are up in the air though, and will be determined as the season gets closer. Safety DeAndre McDaniel passed on the NFL and will return for his senior season and is a preseason All-American in 2010. Marcus Gilchrist will move from safety to corner, and Byron Maxwell will start opposite him.

After having a strong 2009 season, Clemson will have to rebound from losing a lot of talent. The team consistently recruits well though, this year’s class ranking 19th in the country according to rivals.com. Question marks abound, but if things go their way, Clemson will be in the hunt for the ACC championship once again.

Clemson’s odds to win the ACC: + 500

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