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Previewing the 2024 Clemson Tigers Heading Into Spring

Clemson preview
© Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 football season didn't go as expected for the Clemson Tigers. Four seasons after a loss in the national title game, and three straight 10+ win seasons, the Tigers finished 9-4 on the year and finished 22nd in the final college football playoff rankings. Leading the way on offense were Tigers legend Will Shipley and Phil Mafah who both finished with over 1,000 all-purpose yards. Defensively, the Tigers were led by Jeremiah Trotter Jr, who led the team with 88 tackles and was tied for the team lead in sacks (5.5), and Nate Wiggins who led the way in coverage allowing only 18 receptions in 41 attempts.

Clemson preview
© Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

However, as the calendar turns to 2024, and we near the start of Spring, a new season brings new hope and expectations. What should Tigers fans expect? Let's preview the 2024 season for Clemson. For the Tigers, it means turning the page from 11 starters total on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. On offense, quarterback Cade Klubnik returns for his second season as a full-time starter and second season with offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. Expectations are high for Klubnik to make the jump after throwing for 2,844 yards and 19 touchdowns. He will have receiver Tyler Brown and tight end Jake Briningstool as targets in the passing game.  Mafah also returns to lead the rushing attack and build on his career mark of 1,772 rushing yards.

The defense, where the Tigers lost eight starters, will look to Barrett Carter as the leader from his linebacker spot.  Along the defensive line, T.J. Parker should build on his team lead in tackles for loss (12.5 in 2023) and sacks (5.5 in 2023).  Safety/nickel back Khalil Barnes, who led the team with three interceptions last season, is positioned for a bigger role in the secondary. Strong safety R.J. Mickens leads a young secondary for co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn as they look to improve on last season's team that allowed 20 points per game. Wade Woodaz should capitalize on his game experience and earn a starting role as a linebacker. Who will step up on the defensive line with Parker? Will it be Cade Denhoff and DeMonte Capehart, who are poised for bigger roles in the Tigers' defense?

The 2024 regular season starts with a bang for Dabo Swinney and the Tigers as they open in Atlanta against the Georgia Bulldogs on August 31. Early contests at home against NC State on September 21 and on the road at defending ACC Champion Florida State on October 5 loom large. The Tigers season concludes with their annual game with arch-rival South Carolina. Overall, the Tigers have an easier schedule compared to their counterparts in the ACC. The nation could see them in a position to enter the new 12-team playoffs as conference champ or an at-large. It all starts on April 6, 2024, at the Orange and White Spring Game.


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