Clemson ranks Top 10 in USA TODAY Sports post-spring rankings

Clemson ranks Top 10 in USA TODAY Sports post-spring rankings

USA TODAY Sports recently released their way-too-early Top 25 rankings following spring football games, and there’s promising news for Clemson fans.

The Tigers checked in at No. 10, the highest-ranked ACC team in the rankings.

Clemson is coming off a 9-4 season that ended with the team winning their final five games, including a thrilling 38-35 victory over Kentucky in the Gator Bowl that included a 28-point fourth-quarter comeback.

Heading into 2024, the Tigers are returning several key starters on both sides of the ball so there’s hope for a return to the College Football Playoff, especially now that it has expanded to 12 teams.

Per USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg and Erick Smith:

The Tigers are not a team that uses the portal, and this offseason was no exception. It’s hoped that the second year of the relationship between QB Cade Klubnik and offensive coordinator Garrett Riley bears more fruit after an up-and-down season in 2023. Klubnik has all the tools to lead and there are some young receivers looking to push for time. The pieces for an outstanding defense are in place. DB R.J. Mickens and two very promising DLs in TJ Parker and Peter Woods are potential stalwarts.

Klubnik will have an offense that features returning starters like running back Phil Mafah, receiver Tyler Brown, and tight end Jake Briningstool. With Will Shipley declaring for the NFL Draft and being taken as a surprise fourth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, Mafah will be the featured tailback in Riley’s offense. Brown led the Tigers’ receiving corps last season as a freshman with 52 catches for 531 yards and four touchdowns.

The biggest addition to the offense is five-star receiver Bryant Wesco, the most highly-touted recruit on Dabo Swinney’s new roster. Wesco had a strong spring game that included an impressive over-the-shoulder catch from backup quarterback Trent Pearman in the first quarter.

On defense, Barrett Carter is one of the best linebackers in the nation and a two-time All-ACC selection. Carter opted to return for his senior season when many believed he could be a top-round NFL Draft pick. In three seasons at Clemson, Carter has notched 151 tackles (21 for loss), nine sacks and two forced fumbles.

Woods, the Tigers’ star defensive tackle, had an outstanding freshman season that included 26 tackles (2.5 for loss) and a forced fumble. Woods is positioned to be a star moving forward and he’s done nothing to dissuade people of the high expectations he’s set.

Clemson opens the season on August 31 against Georgia in the 2024 Aflac Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Bulldogs are No. 1 in USA TODAY’s post-spring rankings.

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