Clemson football will be back soon. Very soon.
The Tigers are set to open spring practice in less than two weeks and there are a number of areas to keep an eye on as the team gets set to start prep on the 2021 season.
With Cade Stewart and Jackson Carman moving on, there will be two starting spots open along the offensive line. Walker Parks is a guy to keep an eye on, as he seems to be set to move into one of the tackle spots. It will be interesting to see whether Jordan McFadden moves over to the left tackle spot and Parks slides into that right tackle spot or whether Parks can win outright on the left side.
One of the more interesting battles in all of spring will be at center. Mason Trotter was the backup in 2020 but Clemson just brought in one of the best center prospects in the country in Ryan Linthicum and while he may not be ready to start as a freshman, he is absolutely good enough to come in and compete for playing time, which in turn will make everyone better.
This was supposed to be a position of strength last season, but injuries ravaged the group. Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell led the way, and both are now gone. Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson Jr will both will be given a shot at replacing a lot of that production and 2021 will be a big season for both of those guys. It will be their third seasons in the program and after both missed the majority of last season, this is the time for both to step up. As upperclassmen, the younger guys will be looking to them for guidance.
EJ Williams showed towards the end of last season he is ready to take that next step and after a season in the weight room, it will be hard to keep him off of the field. Clemson also just signed three wideouts in Beaux Collins, Dacari Collins, and Troy Stellato, all three of which could come in and compete for playing time right away.
Lots of young talent at the safety position, but almost all of it needed time to develop and we saw that at times on the field last season. One of the biggest keys for Clemson next season will be getting some of those guys to take that next step. Players like Joseph Charleston, Lannden Zanders, Ray Thornton III and RJ Mickens all need to get better.
Barrett Carter is another guy that could come in as a freshman and see some time at safety. Outside of Nolan Turner, this is one position that there are no guarantees at. There will be a ton of competition throughout the spring and into the fall.