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What big updates Clemson sports fans might have missed over break

Katie Bradham, Asst. Photo Editor

The Clemson women’s soccer team celebrates against Florida State on Oct. 1, 2021.

With summer coming to a close and the fall athletic season underway at Clemson, programs have readjusted, added and prepped for their new seasons. Here is what fans may have missed from their favorite sports. 
Clemson football is the preseason favorite to win the ACC in 2022, according to a preseason poll of 164 media voters, 103 of which picked the Tigers to place first. Still, Clemson will not be without a loss.
Redshirt junior safety Lannden Zanders announced on Aug. 3 that he is stepping away from playing football after suffering a series of shoulder injuries throughout his college career.
“I’ve given everything I’ve had to the program, and I’ll give everything I have to support my brothers on the team in a new way while I work on finishing my degree,” Zanders said on Twitter. “Coach Swinney always says committing to Clemson is a lifetime decision, and even away from the field, I will be a Clemson Tiger for life.”
In 25 games with the Tigers, Zanders was credited with 57 tackles (5.0 for loss), 3.0 sacks and four pass breakups.
Men’s soccer
The United Soccer Coaches preseason poll featured Clemson in the No. 1 spot, as the Tigers secured all eight first place voted.
Ranked as the No. 1 team in the county, head coach Mike Noonan and the Tigers will return to Historic Riggs Field on Aug. 26, as they looking forward to another great season.
“It is another first for our program and one we are proud of,” Noonan said in a press release. “In the past few years, Clemson Men’s Soccer has attained a No. 1 final season ranking, a No. 1 RPI ranking, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and now a No. 1 preseason ranking. We are always cognizant that the rankings at the end of the year are what is most important, and we are looking forward to starting the 2022 season on August 26 against Indiana at Riggs.”
Women’s soccer
Clemson’s hot for soccer, and the women’s team is ready to perform after they were also ranked on Aug. 2 as No. 25 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll.
Twenty players from last year’s team will return to the field in 2022, with six freshmen joining the squad.
Following three exhibition games, those 26 players and head coach Eddie Radwanski will play their first regular season match at Historic Riggs Field against Texas A&M today at 7 p.m. 
Men’s basketball
After recovering from a foot injury he sustained last season, junior forward/center PJ Hall suffered an injury to his right patella in July, which could keep him out for several months. Hall has had surgery to repair the injury, but according to head coach Brad Brownell, there is no current timetable for his return.
“It’s unfortunate, but you can’t change it,” Hall said in a statement. “Not every road is paved perfectly. I’m going to keep my energy high, and my voice heard to help these guys get ready for the start of the season. Again, this is unfortunate, but God never makes mistakes. We have a lot of enthusiasm and excitement in our program, and I can’t wait to get back on the court.” As Hall waits to return to the floor, Brownell and his team took a trip to France earlier this month, where the Tigers’ retooled roster played exhibition matches against overseas teams.
With multiple new assistant coaches and players, Clemson will open its season against Iowa on Nov. 25 as a part of the 2022 Emerald Coast Classic. 
After letting go of head coach Monte Lee this offseason, Clemson hired Erik Bakich to take over as the leader of the baseball program in June. Bakich served as Michigan’s head coach for the previous 10 seasons and led the Wolverines to a College World Series appearance in 2019.
Bakich’s first initiative as head coach was hiring former Michigan assistant Nick Schnabel to take over as the Tigers’ assistant head coach and recruiting director.
Likewise, Griffin Mazur will be following Bakich from Michigan as a volunteer assistant coach to work with Clemson’s catchers. Mazur played at Michigan under Schnabel and Bakich in 2021.
Jimmy Belanger, coming from Florida State, was also hired as pitching coach by Bakich.
Meanwhile Clemson lost three players in the MLB draft over the summer. The New York Yankees selected pitcher Geoffrey Gilbert, the Kansas City Royals selected pitcher Mack Anglin and the Baltimore Orioles selected infielder Max Wagner. All three signed deals, marking the end of their collegiate careers. 
After leading the Tigers to a Super Regionals appearance in 2022, head coach John Rittman signed a five-year contract extension in July that keeps him as the leader of the program through 2027. Rittman has posted a 105-33 record in his three seasons at Clemson.

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