Clemson Football: Projecting Post Spring 2-Deep Depth Chart
Spring practice is over and the season opener for Clemson is exactly four months away from Wednesday.
Now that the Tigers have their starting quarterback, it's time to start finding out who will be catching passes from Cole Stoudt. And does Clemson have a running back capable of carrying the ball 25 times per game on a weekly basis?
Offensive coordinator Chad Morris has his work cut out for him in 2014. Replacing Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Roderick McDowell and Brandon Thomas on offense is a lot to overcome. But the Tigers do have talent—it's just young.
Head coach Dabo Swinney hasn't released a post-spring depth chart yet, so we are going to project what the Tigers' first official depth chart will look like.
1. Cole Stoudt, SR (6'4", 205)
2. Deshaun Watson, FR (6'3", 190)
Just three weeks ago this position was still unsettled. Stoudt was battling Chad Kelly and Watson, a true freshman, for the job. However, Stoudt impressed coaches with a strong spring and Kelly got himself kicked off of the team.
Watson suffered a shoulder injury in one of the scrimmages, which hurt his chances. Realistically, though, Watson wasn't expected to start in 2014. Hopes of redshirting him have likely taken a hit now with Kelly gone.
1. D.J. Howard, SR (5'11", 195)
2. Zac Brooks, JR (6'1", 184)
3. C.J Davidson, JR, (5'11", 185)
4. Wayne Gallman, FR, (6'1", 195)
This position is as unsettled as any on the roster. But that is far from a bad thing. All four players in contention to start in the backfield are good. Each player offers something different.
Davidson and Gallman are both fast. Gallman is perhaps the most intriguing, though. He has good size and excellent vision to go along with his blazing speed.
Howard and Brooks are the most experienced of the bunch. Both battled injuries in 2013. Swinney is confident in both players, according to David Hood of TigerNet.com:
D.J. Howard is our senior leader that seems to kind of just gotten over that injury bug that has really hampered him, and he had his best spring. We're really excited about Zac Brooks. He was a guy that got hurt last year, was making great strides, hurt his shoulder. He's back and had an excellent spring. I think he is a very dynamic player.
Swinney is even more excited about Gallman:
Wayne Gallman is a guy that you're going to hear a lot about. He's not a complete player yet because he's still a freshman and we've got a lot of things to teach him and coach him up on, but he is the whole package.
1. Mike Williams, SO (6'5", 205)
2. Charone Peake, JR (6'3", 200)
1. Adam Humphries, SR (5'11", 190)
2. Germone Hopper, SO (6'0", 170)
1. Daniel Rodriguez, JR (5'8", 175)
2. Artavis Scott, FR (5'11", 180)
The Tigers have a lot of talent at wide receiver. This group just lacks experience. Humphries will likely lead the team in receptions. He is a tremendous route-runner with deceptive speed. Stoudt will likely rely heavily on Humphries.
Hopper and Peake missed all or most of spring practice for different reasons. Hopper was sent home to focus on his academics, while Peake was recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season. Hopper has a chance to be special, he just needs to get his academics in order.
Mike Williams could be a great player. He is big and has terrific hands. Stoudt will enjoy throwing to him because of his outstanding catch radius.
Three true freshmen participated in spring practice: Scott, Kyrin Priester and Demarre Kitt. One of the three will likely have an opportunity to see the field in 2014.
1. Jordan Leggett, SO (6'6", 240)
2. Stanton Seckinger, JR (6'4", 230)
This is all about Leggett. He was terrific in the spring game with seven catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. He has the combination of size and athletic ability that teams covet at the tight end position in this day and age.
His touchdown in the spring game is something coaches hope they see a lot of next season. He boxed out the defender and caught the fade route for a score. He could be an unstoppable weapon in the red zone.
1. Isaiah Battle, JR (6'6", 280)
2. Shaq Anthony, JR (6'4", 280)
1. Kalon Davis, SR (6'5", 338)
2. David Beasley, SR (6'4", 320)
1. Ryan Norton, JR (6'3", 280)
2. Jay Guillermo, SO (6'3", 315)
1. Reid Webster, JR (6'3", 300)
2. David Beasley, SR (6'4", 320)
1. Eric Mac Lain, JR (6'4", 295)
2. Shaq Anthony, JR (6'4", 280)
Injuries rocked this group in the spring. Battle could be an outstanding left tackle. He has the size, athleticism and footwork that many of the top offensive tackles have, but he needs consistency.
Davis and Beasley are both experienced and will battle it out at one guard position. Davis is the leader and Beasley's suspension for the season opener doesn't help his case. Beasley could also start at right guard.
Mac Lain was hurt this spring, but he is perhaps the team's most reliable performer along the offensive line. Norton, too, is solid at center. Mac Lain, who has played both tackle and guard extensively, could find himself as the starter at right tackle or one of the guard spots.
Swinney hopes Anthony takes his play to the next level. Like Beasley, he is also suspended for the season opener. Anthony has the talent to start, but at this point is behind Mac Lain and Battle. He will likely be the top backup at both tackle positions.
Webster is an experienced and versatile backup.
1. Vic Beasley, SR (6'3", 235)
2. Tavaris Barnes, SR (6'3", 270
1. Grady Jarrett, SR (6'1", 295)
2. D.J. Reader, JR (6'2", 335)
1. Josh Watson, SR (6'4", 285)
2. DeShawn Williams, SR (6'1", 285)
1. Corey Crawford, SR (6'5", 270)
2. Shaq Lawson, SO (6'4", 260)
Clemson's defensive line is easily the top unit on the team. This group is deep all along the defensive line and could easily go two-deep at each of the four spots without losing a ton of production.
Beasley is the team's leader. An All-American last season, Beasley returned, in part, because he saw how special this group could be. Barnes started opposite of Beasley in the spring game and was arguably the best player on the field.
Crawford is suspended for the season opener, which could give Lawson a prime opportunity to showcase his ability.
The Tigers have four very good and experienced defensive tackles. All four could start. Reader and Watson are excellent run-stuffers, while Jarrett is an underrated inside rusher.
1. T.J Burrell, SO, (5'11", 215)
2. D.J. Greenlee, FR (6'2", 210)
1. Stephone Anthony, SR (6'2", 235)
2. Ben Boulware, SO (6'1", 230)
1. Tony Steward, SR (6'1", 235)
2. Dorian O'Daniel, FR (6'1", 205)
Anthony was one of the top recruits in the country a few years back. He has settled into a nice, solid career for the Tigers but has never developed into the star many felt he would be. This could be his year. He has gotten better each year and the team's defensive line will only make Anthony more dangerous.
Boulware had a terrific spring game and will find his way onto the field at some point.
Steward finally gets his chance. He has always been solid while on defense, but he is an outstanding special teams player. This will be his year on defense, but with Dorian O'Daniel behind him, Steward better not get too comfortable as O'Daniel is a future star.
1. Mackensie Alexander, FR (5'11", 185)
2. Adrian Baker, FR (5'11", 170)
1. Cordrea Tankersley, SO (6'1", 190)
2. Martin Jenkins, SR (5'9", 185)
3. Garry Peters, SR (6'0", 185)
1. Robert Smith, SR (5'11", 210)
2. Korrin Wiggins, SO (5'11", 190)
1. Jayron Kearse, SO (6'4", 205)
2. Travis Blanks, JR (6'0", 200)
3. Jadar Johnson, SO (6'1", 195)
This unit may lack experience overall, but its potential is outstanding.
Alexander and Baker were top recruits in 2013 and both redshirted last season. Alexander has continuously received praise from the coaches all spring with Baker not far behind. Expect one, or both, to make an immediate impact.
Jenkins will battle with Tankersley to start opposite of Alexander. A reliable senior, Jenkins started four games last season and is a solid overall player. Tankersley is talented and athletic, he's also had a good spring. Jenkins is better in run support, though.
At safety, the Tigers have loads of options. The steady Smith will start at one position, but outside of that, not much is known.
Expect Kearse, a big, physical presence, to start in 2014. He started three games as a freshman last season and was tied for the team lead in interceptions. He will be in a battle with Blanks to see who starts opposite of Smith.
Keep an eye on Johnson, too. He is another talented and rangy athlete in the secondary.
1. Ammon Lakip, JR (5'10", 195)
1. Bradley Pinion, JR (6'6", 230)
There is really no competition at either of these spots. Lakip had an excellent spring, but he is replacing the ACC's all-time leading scorer in Chandler Catanzaro. Replacing the automatic Catanzaro is a tall task and something many don't mention because of other high-profile departures.
Pinion was solid last year, but he could stand to improve in 2014. He averaged 39 yards per punt in 2013 but did have 24 punts downed inside the 20. That is an important number for a punter and will always bring the average per punt down.