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Clemson Tigers 2021 College Football Team Breakdown (Depth Chart, Schedule & Betting Preview)

Matt Gajewski

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Clemson Dabo Swinney and Notre Dame Brian Kelly

No. 2 Clemson Tigers

2020 Record: 10-2
Returning Starters: Offense No. 5, Defense No. 9

Key Metrics and Personnel

  • Head Coach — Dabo Swinney (140-33)
  • Offensive Coordinator — Tony Elliott
  • Defensive Coordinator — Brent Venables
  • Points/Game — 43.0 (4th)
  • Plays/Game — 78.2 (15th)
  • Pass Rate — 56.05 (12th)
  • Yards/Att R — 4.5 (61st)
  • Yards/Att P — 8.5 (22nd)
  • Yards/Att Allowed R — 3.2 (9th)
  • Yards Att Allowed P — 7.5 (71st)
  • Points Allowed/Game — 22.0 (29th)

Vegas Win Total – 11.5, Over +100, Under -120

Notes

Dabo Swinney has coached Clemson since 2007. Tony Elliott has been his offensive coordinator in some capacity since 2015. Brent Venables has been his defensive coordinator since 2012.

Recruiting Class: No. 5

Five Star Recruits:

  • Tristan Leigh — OT — No. 13
  • Will Shipley — RB — No. 31
  • Barrett Carter — LB — No. 32

Other Top Recruits:

  • Jake Briningstool — TE — No. 60
  • Beaux Collins — WR — No. 85
  • Troy Stellato — WR — No. 174
  • Dacari Collins — WR — No. 179
  • Phil Mafah — RB — No. 183

Daily Fantasy Players to Watch

QB D.J. Uiagalelei, RB Will Shipley, WR Justyn Ross

Clemson Depth Chart

Offense: 5 Returning Starters

  • QB: D.J. Uiagalelei, Bubba Chandler, Taisun Phommachanh
  • RB: Will Shipley, Phil Mafah, Lyn-J Dixon
  • WR1: E.J. Williams, Frank Ladson, Ajou Ajou
  • WR2: Justyn Ross, Brannon Spector, Troy Stellato
  • WR3: Joseph Ngata, Beaux Collins, Dacari Collins
  • TE: Braden Galloway, Davis Allen, Jaelyn Lay
  • LT: Jordan McFadden, Marcus Tate
  • LG: Matt Bockhorst, Paul Tchio
  • C: Hunter Rayburn, Ryan Linthicum
  • RG: Will Putnam, Mason Trotter
  • RT: Walker Parks, Mitchell Mayes

Defense: 9 Returning Starters

  • Edge: Xavier Thomas
  • DT: Tyler Davis
  • DT: Bryan Breese
  • Edge: Myles Murphy
  • LB: Baylon Spector
  • LB: James Skalski
  • CB: Andrew Booth
  • CB: Sheridan Jones
  • CB-N Mario Goodrich
  • S: Lannden Zander
  • S: Nolan Turner

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2021 Clemson Tigers Season Preview

Clemson is fresh off a 10-2 season with losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State. It returns five starters on offense and nine on defense.

At quarterback Clemson will move forward with D.J. Uiagalelei, who started two games last year. He completed 66.7% of his passes for 914 yards and 7.8 yards per attempt. He did not throw an interception and rushed for 60 yards on 28 carries.

At running back Clemson lost all-time leading rusher Travis Etienne. They got five-star recruit Will Shipley and four-star recruit Phil Mafah. They also return Lyn-J Dixon, Kobe Pace and Michael Dukes, among others.

At receiver Clemson lost Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell, but they return Justyn Ross, who was better than either. Ross had a neck injury last year, but he had 46 receptions for 1,000 yards as a freshman. He followed it up with 66 catches for 865 yards as a sophomore. E.J. Williams was the fourth-leading receiver, with 24 catches and 306 yards. Joseph Ngata was hurt last year, but he finished with seven catches for 83 yards. He is the favorite to start, but Frank Ladson could play more. Brannon Spector and freshmen Beaux Collins, Dacari Collins and Troy Stellato are candidates for increased playing time as well.

Tight end Braden Galloway returns after finishing fourth on the team in receiving. He had 27 catches for 369 yards.

Clemson’s offensive line lost Jackson Carman and Cade Stewart. They return three starters but return just 37 career starts. Will Putnam returns at right guard after an Honorable Mention All-ACC season last year. Matt Bockhorst returns at left guard after a Second-Team All-ACC season. Jordan McFadden will play left tackle, and Walker Parks and Hunter Rayburn should fill in the gaps at right tackle and center.

On defense they lost Mike Jones and Derion Kendrick to transfer. LeAnthony Williams transferred as well. Their defensive line includes Xavier Thomas, Tyler Davis, Bryan Bresee and Myles Murphy, all of whom were Third-Team All-ACC or better. Davis and Bresee were First Team. They also return their top two backers in Baylon Spector and James Skalski. Trenton Simpson played a decent amount too. Defensive backs Andrew Booth and Sheridan Jones look solid. Booth was Second-Team All-ACC. Lannden Zanders and Nolan Turner were Honorable Mention and First Team All-ACC at safety.

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Clemson Tigers 2021 Schedule

  • Sept. 4 Georgia 7:30 p.m. Neutral
  • Sept. 11 South Carolina State 5:00 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 18 Georgia Tech 3:30 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 25 North Carolina State 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 2 Boston College 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 15 Syracuse 7:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 23 Pittsburgh 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 30 Florida St 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 6 Louisville 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 13 Connecticut 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 20 Wake Forest 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 27 South Carolina 12:00 p.m. Away

Clemson Football Betting Outlook

Clemson opens against Georgia at a neutral site. They are 4-point favorites in this game. Even if they lose, they will probably roll through the ACC to a playoff berth. Then they play the easiest schedule in the ACC, dodging both Miami and North Carolina. Their next toughest game is Boston College, who they drew at home. This win total of 11.5 rides with Week 1 against Georgia.


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Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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