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Clemson football 2018 offensive line preview

After a disappointing end to the 2017 season, the Clemson offensive line is primed to bounce back. Anchored by Mitch Hyatt and Justin Falcinelli, the 2017 Tiger linemen proved to be a formidable group, especially in the run game. Despite a strong regular season, the offensive line received heavy criticism after their performance in the Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama. The Tigers were dominated by Alabama’s defensive line, allowing five sacks and providing just 1.9 yards per carry. But with a good mix of returning stars and young talent, the 2018 Tiger O-line is shaping up to be stronger than ever.

Perhaps the best news for the Clemson offensive line this season was the announcement that left tackle Mitch Hyatt would be returning for his senior season. The two-time All-ACC selection would have certainly been taken early in the 2018 NFL draft had he elected to leave, but he explained that there was, “some unfinished business on the field”. With Hyatt returning, the Tigers now have several options for the exterior line positions.

Incoming freshman Jackson Carman, a five star recruit from Fairfield, Ohio, made headlines this offseason by deciding to join Clemson over his hometown Ohio State Buckeyes. Carman will likely have a shot to start at one of the guard positions on opening day now that both of Clemson’s 2017 guards have graduated. He will be in the mix with Noah DeHond, John Simpson and Gage Cervenka for the starting guard spots. 

At center, the Tigers will return their first-team All-ACC selection Justin Falcinelli. At right tackle, the Tigers will have two returning players from a year ago: Sean Pollard and Tremayne Anchrum. Cade Stewart and Blake Vinson could also get some snaps on the line, giving the Tigers some depth. Clemson has several players that are capable of moving into different roles along the line, so it is difficult to project the five guys taking the field on Sept. 1. No matter how it plays out, this year’s offensive line certainly has a lot of options and depth at all five positions. 

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