As Clemson heads into the 2020 season, most have them pegged as the proverbial favorite to win the national title. While the team may be coming off a 42-25 loss to LSU in last year’s title game, most seem to think that was just a small bump in the road when it comes to the big picture surrounding the program.
Today, we will give you five reasons on why the Tigers will bring home their third national championship in five years, and the programs fourth overall.
- Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence is now the second generational quarterback in a row for the Tigers, and let’s face it, having the best triggerman in the land always gives you a leg up in the conversation. While it is unlikely he’ll win it due to the competition level, Lawrence enters the season as a favorite to win the Heisman. He is also going into his third season, with most having him as a lock as the top overall pick in next year’s draft. It won’t be the time for a drop off in his play, quite the opposite in fact. Add in the fact that he is coming off of his first loss as a college quarterback, and the rest of the nation is on notice.
- Travis Etienne: Etienne deciding to return for his senior season gives the Tigers what may be the best one-two punch in the country at running back. It also gives them one of, if not the, deepest running back groups in the land. Not being a finalist for the Doak Walker Award last season did not sit well with the senior running back, nor his head coach, Dabo Swinney. An even more motivated Etienne isn’t what opposing defensive coordinators were wanting to see.
- Defensive Line: What was a weakness in 2019, should be a strength in 2020, and make no mistake, the defensive front was a weakness last season. The Tigers struggled mightily to generate a pass rush with the defensive front last season, causing defensive coordinator Brent Venables to rely on the blitz more often than he otherwise would have, and he’s blitz happy to begin with. Clemson just brought in one of the best recruiting classes in the country, with several elite level defensive linemen being the centerpieces of the class. Look for freshmen Bryan Bresse, Myles Murphy, and DaMonte Capehart to make immediate impacts. Also look for a breakout season from Xavier Thomas as the team goes back to a traditional 4-3 look.
- Braden Galloway: It has been three seasons since the Clemson offense has had a legit, pass catching threat at tight end. Galloway is that guy. After sitting out last season, he is another guy that will be playing with that extra bit of motivation. This offense has already been scary good with with Lawrence at quarterback, and now he will have a weapon at his disposal that he hasn’t had those first two seasons.
- Revenge Factor: Revenge factor may not be the best way to describe it, but this team will have a serious chip on its shoulder in 2020. Regardless, they were not happy with the way the LSU game ended up playing out. Make no mistake, the better team won, but at the same time the Tigers played what was probably their worst game of the season. Lawrence in particular, might have had his worst outing as a Tiger period. By all accounts, the team showed up for spring ball laser focused. It had the feel of a team on a mission, and that is bad news for the rest of college football.