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Clemson Offense Led By Talented Veteran Players

Kim Montuoro
Ray-Ray McCloud

It looks like some of the offensive woes for the Tigers have been alleviated as they controlled the game for almost the entire 60 minutes against a solid Boston College defense. While the Eagles had the edge in terms of possession, it was largely due to the fact that Clemson moved the ball quickly and explosively while Boston College tried to string together more methodical drives. Through 15 drives, Clemson had to punt in five of them. There is still room for improvement, but it looks like this offense is starting to find itself midway through the season. 

While there are a multitude of talented players on this team, there are a few who have stood out through the first six games and who the Tigers will no doubt continue to rely on as they continue their season. 


Mike Williams:

This one is no surprise. After returning from a season-ending neck injury, Williams has been one of the stars of this team. Last year, quarterback Deshaun Watson was missing a deep threat from his arsenal of weapons, but now he has that in Williams. 

Standing at 6’3” with decent speed, Williams is a nightmare for opposing defenses to cover. He has already racked up 27 receptions for 432 yards and three touchdowns. That gives him an average of around 16 yards per reception. With Hunter Renfrow being out with a hand injury, Williams has become one of Watson’s most reliable targets and he has been instrumental in this offense’s success. 


Wayne Gallman

Gallman is a workhorse, there is no other way to put it. It is somewhat shocking that he is not getting more carries than he is, especially considering his numbers from last year. In 2015 he had 282 carries for 1514 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry. 

While he doesn’t have breakaway speed like other running backs in college football, Gallman rarely loses yards and is reliable. In 2015, he only had two lost fumbles so Watson knows the ball is about as safe as it can be with Gallman. So far this year Gallman has 480 yards on 88 carries, which has him averaging around 14 carries per game. What is particularly astounding about that stat is the lack of carries he has gotten in the red zone this season, the team opting instead to have Watson pass more often than not. Regardless of the number of carries, Gallman has an impact on the field every play and is one of the unsung heroes of this team. 


Deon Cain:

One of the young stars of this team, Cain has been trying to prove himself all season. After being sent home before last year’s semifinal game against Oklahoma for drug violations, Head Coach Dabo Swinney gave

Cain another chance and he has taken advantage of it. After starting off a bit shaky with some bad drops, the receiver has picked it up through the last few games. He now has 13 receptions for 238 yards and six touchdowns. 

He has been a nice complement to Williams over the top, giving Watson another option down the field. He still has a lot of growing to do as a football player, as shown by his clock management

mistake against Boston College when he failed to get down after a catch at the end of the first half and time expired. 

Regardless, he has the potential to be a lethal weapon for Watson further down the stretch. 


Ray-Ray McCloud

Take away the special teams blunders and McCloud has had a nice year for himself. He has become another reliable target for Watson, but in all reality, his largest contributions have been on special teams. While he will probably always be remembered for the infamous flip of the ball before crossing the goal line, he is the most dynamic returner Clemson has had in a while. 

Special teams were a huge detriment to the team in 2015 but have improved this season, and McCloud is part of the reason why. He is still learning and as such is making his fair share of mistakes, but he also has the ability to have a big return anytime he catches the ball. If he can clean up his catching and work on mental lapses, he has the potential to be a great special teams player for the Tigers. 


Jordan Leggett 

Leggett could have left to go to the NFL Draft after last season and quite possibly would have ended up on some team’s roster but he elected to return to Clemson for his final season and he is making the most of it. After a quiet first few games, he really showed up in the Georgia Tech game when he caught his first touchdown of the season. Leggett has a tremendous impact on the field, whether it is blocking or receiving. 

He was critical in the game against Louisville, catching the go-ahead touchdown and two-point conversion attempt that helped Clemson top the Cardinals in Death Valley. It is likely that his role will only grow as the season wears on and there are few players more deserving of that chance than Leggett. 


In an offense loaded with talent, it is hard to stand apart but these players have done just that. All of them will be instrumental in Clemson’s success if they hope to repeat their National Championship appearance. 

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