Clemson: Countdown to Kickoff 2013



ACC preseason favorite Clemson is ranked eighth in the nation in the preseason USA Today poll, the highest preseason ranking for the program since 1988 … The Tigers finished the 2012 season with an 11-2 record and a number-nine ranking in the same poll … Clemson achieved the high preseason ranking despite a roster that includes just 10 scholarship seniors … QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins are both on the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List for 2013 … Boyd has also been listed on the watch list for the Maxwell Award and for the Davey O'Brien Award … Watkins has also been on the list for the Maxwell and the Biletnikoff Awards … Boyd earned 2012 ACC Player of the Year honors and was the media's choice for 2013 Preseason Player of the Year at last month's ACC Football Kickoff … Watkins was the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011.

Numbers & Notes

.889 - The winning percentage for head coach Dabo Swinney in the Tiger-friendly confines of Clemson’s Memorial Stadium in ACC games. Clemson is 16-2 against league foes at home under Swinney, the second-best winning percentage by a coach in league history.

.963 - Dating back to the middle of the 2011 season, Clemson PK Chris Catanzaro has made 26 of his last 27 field goal attempts,  a .963 percentage, including a school-record streak of 20 consecutive made three-pointers.

8.0 - Though he only had a total of 14 tackles in part-time play last year, sophomore DE Vic Beasley recorded 8.0 QB sacks to lead the Tigers.

21 - Over the last two seasons, Clemson has recorded 21 wins posting a 10-4 mark and an ACC title in 2011 and an 11-2 record last year. That’s the most wins in back-to-back seasons for the Tigers since their national championship season in 1981 (12-0) and a 9-1-1 mark in 1982.

89 - In his two seasons as the starting quarterback, Clemson senior Tajh Boyd has twice broken the ACC single-season record for TD  responsibility and in 2012 the league’s single-season mark for TD passes and heads into his final season with 89 TDR, trailing only the ACC career mark of 112 set by NC State’s Philip Rivers in 2003.

2012 In Review
In just his fifth season as head coach at Clemson, Dabo Swinney has built the Tigers back to national prominence...Clemson’s 11-2 record was its best since its 1981 national championship season and it included an Atlantic Division co-championship, a win over 9th-ranked LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and a Top Ten finish (9th in USA Today Coaches poll)...Only losses to Top Ten teams Florida State (8th in USA Today) and South Carolina (7th), marred an otherwise  spectacular year...Led by first-team All-America QB Tajh Boyd (AFCA), Clemson scored the most points in school history (533) in school history and 2nd most in league history and its 41.0 scoring average was also a school mark and 4th-best figure ever in the Conference...The Tigers finished 6th nationally in scoring offense and 9th in total offense, averaging a school-record 512.7 yards a game, while setting an ACC standard with 6,665 total yards...Boyd finished 5th nationally in pass efficiency (165.59) and 7th in total offense (339.23) while breaking his own ACC single-season marks for TD passes (36) and touchdown responsibility (46)...WR DeAndre Hopkins, a 2nd-team All-America had a breakout year setting an ACC record with 18 touchdown catches, while also grabbing 82 passes for 1,405 yards, the 2nd-highest receiving yards total in league history...C Dalton Freeman received first-team All-America honors by the AFCA...WR Sammy Watkins, though limited to just 10 games and 7 starts, still was named first-team All-America by Pro Football Weekly while making 57 catches for 708 yards and 3 TDs...TB Andre Ellington topped the 1,000-yard mark in rushing for the second straight year (1,081)...TE Brandon Ford earned Honorable Mention All-America honors ...Boyd, Hopkins, Freeman, Ellington, Ford and T Brandon Thomas earned first-team All-ACC honors, while PK Chandler Catanzaro, who made 18 of 19 field goals, and FS Rashard Hall earned 2nd-team honors..Watkins, DE Malliciah Goodman, NT Grady Jarrett (Coaches) and S Jonathan Meeks (Coaches) earned All-ACC Honorable Mention.

Who’s Gone
Offensively, the Tigers lose WR’s Hopkins and Brown, TE Ford, TB Ellington and  C Freeman, while on defense, DE Goodman, LB Willard, and three members of the secondary as CB Xavier Brewer, FS Hall and SS Meeks depart.

2013 Preview
The return of All-Americas Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, both of whom will again contend for national honors, provides the building blocks of yet another potent offense... The Tigers also return four starters on the offensive line in Ts Brandon Thomas and Gifford Timothy and Gs David Beasley and Tyler Shatley, though Beasley ended spring in a battle with junior Kalon Davis for his starting position...Sophomore Ryan Norton steps into vacant center spot, with redshirt freshman Stanton Seckinger  the likely candidate at tight end... For Clemson to take the next step and contend for the national championship, the Tigers will have to find replacements for Hopkins and Ellington, who were big-time playmakers...A trio of TBs will vie for Ellington’s spot in senior Roderick McDowell, junior D.J. Howard and sophomore Zac Brooks, while several talented WRs will battle for playing time opposite Watkins in juniors Adam Humphries, Charone Peake, Martavis Bryant, Matt Porter and redshirt freshman Germone Hopper... The Tigers’ defense made strides under coordinator Brent Venables, and will need to continue that upward trend....Three talented starters return on the line in NT Grady Jarrett, DT Josh Watson and DE Corey Crawford and are joined by DEs Vic Beasley (8 sacks), Tavaris Barnes and Shaq Lawson as well as DTs Deshawn Williams, D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins...At LB, Stephone Anthony and Spencer Shuey return with senior Quandon Christian moving into the other starting spot...They are joined by Tony Steward, B.J. Goodson and Oklahoma transfer Kellen Jones, who impressed last fall...A spring priority is rebuilding the secondary which loses three starters...Senior CB Darius Robinson is the lone returning starter with Bashaud Breeland, Martin Jenkins and Garry Peters all competing for playing time at CB...Travis Blanks, Ronald Geohagen, Robert Smith and  Jadar Johnson are a talented collection battling at the safety positions.