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Things to watch at Clemson’s spring game

Caleb Browder, Senior Photographer
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) drops back to pass in Clemson’s 2021 Orange vs. White spring game.
Clemson football will host its annual spring game on April 9 at 1 p.m. and with returning players and new arrivals, there are four distinct storylines to follow.
Who will step up at wide receiver?
Last season, Clemson’s leading receiver was Justyn Ross, who had 514 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Ross is leaving Clemson for the NFL, and with him gone the Tigers’ receiving room now turns to many young players.
Joseph Ngata and E.J. Williams are two players who hope to make their presence known after missing time due to injury last season. That said, rising sophomore wide receivers Beaux Collins and Dacari Collins filled Ngata’s and William’s roles well and could continue their campaign as starters in the fall.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, promising true freshman wide receiver Adam Randall tore his ACL during last Friday’s practice. Randall’s injury costs Clemson depth but will open another hole at the receiver position for others to step up.
DJ Uiagalelei’s play
At the start of the 2021 football season, Uiagalelei was a preseason favorite to win the Heisman. Despite
the promising expectations, Uiagalelei did not win the Heisman and finished the season with 2,246 passing yards, 13 total touchdowns and 10 turnovers.
Although he faced many issues out of his control, including injuries to many offensive starters, he himself and coaching staff have admitted that Uiagalelei’s performance was not up to Clemson’s standards.
Coaches will review each aspect of his game on Saturday, including Uiagalelei’s confidence in his arm, accuracy and mobility.
With freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik now with the team, Uiagalalei’s play in the spring game will give fans an early look into the potential quarterback battle next season.
How ferocious the defensive line is
Clemson’s defensive line has many people reminiscing about the 2018 self-proclaimed “Power Rangers” group that featured Austin Bryant, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell.
This season, Clemson’s defensive line is highlighted by Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, Tyler Davis, Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry. Last season Clemson averaged 3.23 sacks per game. This ranked tenth among all college football teams, despite Breese and Davis missing significant time.
With another season of experience under the players’ belts and hopefully health on its side, Clemson’s defensive line can be one of the best in the nation.
Who will step up in the secondary?
Perhaps the position group that will have the most significant transition period on the team is Clemson’s secondary. Clemson will lose starting corners Andrew Booth Jr. and Mario Goodrich to the draft as well as starting safety Nolan Turner. Safety Joseph Charleston also left the team to transfer to Missouri.
Like the wide receiver group, the spring game will show many people which players have stepped up to fill the void Booth, Goodrich and Turner left. A few cornerbacks to watch this spring game are Jeadyn Lukus, Nate Wiggins and Sheridan Jones.
At safety, rising sophomore Andrew Mukuba looks to hold onto his starting role after winning ACC freshman defensive player of the year last season. A couple of players who will battle it out for the free safety role are Jalyn Phillips and R.J. Mickens.
Overall, the spring game will allow fans to see what Clemson football looks like thus far into the offseason while answering questions about how Clemson will move forward with the team. 
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