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CU in Tampa: A look at Clemson football in 2016

Savannah N. Miller, Staff

Coming up five points short in the National Championship Game is, tacitly, a sickening way to close out a season, but the Clemson Tigers are poised to bounce back from their title game shortcomings and take care of unfinished business this coming season. 

With every key offensive weapon returning, including wide receiver Mike Williams, who suffered a season-ending neck injury in last season’s opening game, the Tigers have also reloaded on defense, having no weak spots anywhere on the roster.

Head Coach Dabo Swinney, who was just rewarded for the Tigers’ recent success with a new contract, spoke on the team’s spring performance to the media, saying, “Sometimes, it takes into the summer to really develop the chemistry and leadership the way you really want it to be, but just right out of the gate, these guys have been together and focused and a great sense of urgency.” 

Clearly a team with a winning pedigree and proven veterans, Clemson is set for greatness in 2016, and Swinney’s remark proves it.

Boasting one of the top 10 recruiting classes in the nation, Clemson replenished its roster with several impressive recruits, many of which will fill the voids left over by the multitude of defensive players from the 2015 team to move on to the NFL. One recruit in particular, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, should prove fairly quickly to be the next great defensive lineman to sport the orange and regalia.

The offense, though, is what should separate the Tigers from the rest of the field. Rarely does a power conference team sport the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end in the conference, but a case could be made that the Tigers are going to do just that in the fall. 

Quarterback Deshaun Watson, running back Wayne Gallman, wide receiver Artavis Scott and tight end Jordan Leggett are all perhaps the best players in the ACC at their respective positions, and Watson is arguably the best all-around player in the country. Clemson should have no problem getting the ball into the end zone in 2016, and Watson should have enough weapons around him to win the Heisman.

Clemson should win the ACC by a landslide, making a College Football Playoff berth a virtual guarantee. From there, the Tigers will look to accomplish what they fell short of doing in January: win the national title. Barring injuries, the Tigers should be able to do just that. 

With one of the best coaching staffs and one of the best rosters in all of college football, Clemson is going to be a talked about as a national championship contender all throughout the preseason, so expectations will be running high in Tiger Town this football season. With a multitude of key players slated to enter next year’s NFL Draft, the Tigers have to strike while the iron is hot. 

Therefore, it is national championship or bust for the Clemson Tigers in 2016.

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