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Column: Only a matter of time: Clemson football is ‘built to last’

David Perez, Photo Editor
Clemson fans celebrate during a game at Death Valley. 

In New Orleans, the city known for its music and outstanding dining, Clemson couldn’t find its rhythm resulting in a loss against Alabama 24-6 on New Year’s Day.

Give credit where credit is due, Alabama was the better team and it showed. Nick Saban had a month to prepare his team, unlike the last two games where both teams had only one week to prepare. The turnovers and uncharacteristic mistakes, such as the lack of a running game, cost the Tigers a win against a team that was out for revenge after feeling like they let one slip away last year.

As disappointing as the loss was to Clemson fans, when looking back at the 2017 season as a whole it was another success for the Tigers. At ACC Media Days this past summer, Clemson was picked to finish second behind Florida St. for the Atlantic Division, and ended up beating the Seminoles in Death Valley on Nov. 11 and winning their third straight ACC Championship over Miami. 

The big three games on the schedule included an early visit from Auburn and tough road games at Louisville and Virginia Tech resulting in Clemson beating all three teams. Clemson was the first team ever to beat three top 15 teams in the country before October. Clemson also continued their dominance over in-state rival South Carolina, beating them for the fourth straight year.

After losing players like Deshaun Watson, Jordan Leggett, Wayne Gallman and Ben Boulware, Clemson reloaded in 2017. Kelly Bryant came in as a first-year starter leading Clemson to 12 wins and a third straight College Football Playoff appearance, something that many outside of the program did not expected from the junior signal caller from Calhoun Falls. Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster combined for 1435 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns putting Clemson in a great spot heading into 2018.

If the on-field success isn’t enough to be proud of, Clemson has also recruited well. With the new early signing period in December, the Tigers signed the No. 1 ranked player in five different states including QB Trevor Lawrence from Georgia and Derion Kendrick from South Carolina. When it’s all said and done, the 2018 recruiting class has the potential to be one of the best in Clemson football history. So, while the loss on New Year’s Day was disappointing, this is a program that isn’t going anywhere any time soon and is built for sustained success under Dabo Swinney. 

Get ready, it’s only a matter of time until Sept. 1 will be here when the Tigers open the 2018 season against Furman and the Tigers will be right back in the hunt again.


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