Storylines to Watch
How will things shake out with the QBs?
As mentioned when talking about Trevor Lawrence, the starting quarterback situation heading into the 2018 Clemson spring game can best be described as “fluid”. The perception is that Kelly Bryant’s job as the starter is far from secure right now. Lawrence’s status as a highly rated recruit certainly plays into that, but so too does the presence of rising sophomore Hunter Johnson, another guy who was quite touted coming out of high school.
Subsequently, there will rightfully be a ton of eyes on each young man on Saturday at the Orange and White game. While their performances won’t be the only deciding factor in who is the starter for the Tigers come Week 1 of the regular season, it will play into that decision at least somewhat.
Who will whichever QB be throwing to?
Again referring back to one of the players to watch, the group of pass-catchers for the Tigers heading into the spring game is another situation where things appear quite fluid. We know that Hunter Renfrow is going to be a senior leader for this group and a guy that whoever is playing quarterback will likely look to as a safety valve. Outside of that, however, it would appear that nothing is certain.
The aforementioned Derion Kendrick will be a factor, but so too will the likes of Amari Johnson, Diondre Overton, Tee Higgins and several others. As much as the quarterbacks are going to be in the spotlight, the performances of these receivers is going to be just as important. A great quarterback can make average receivers look good, but having great receivers can make life easier for less-than-great quarterbacks.
Can the back end of the defense match the front?
The fact that Austin Bryant, Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Kendall Joseph are all returning to Clemson is huge for the defense heading into 2018. The first three players listed formed arguably the best defensive front in college football last year, and Joseph is a do-it-all type player at linebacker behind them. As talented as those guys are, though, there are questions behind them.
Yes, there is experience at the top of the secondary, but the depth is questionable at best. Meanwhile, we’ve already talked about the need to replace Dorian O’Daniel at linebacker and the questions that are present at that position. Therefore, seeing how the unit behind the returning studs performs will be quite interesting for this defense to reach its potential this season.