Clemson tied for most on ESPN top-50 players list


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Clemson tied for most on ESPN top-50 players list

Clemson landed five on ESPN's preseason top-50 players in college football list and is expected land one more there by the end of the season.

Versatile defensive lineman Christian Wilkins leads Clemson's contingent at No. 4 overall behind Houston's Ed Oliver, Stanford's Bryce Love and West Virginia's Will Grier, while Dexter Lawrence is right behind Wilkins at No. 5.

"Last year, injuries plagued Lawrence's season," said ESPN's analysis, "and while he did his best to stay on the field and make an impact, it was clear he wasn't 100 percent. In 2018, we might finally get to see what a monster Lawrence can be when he's clicking on all cylinders, and that's bad news for the rest of the ACC."

Clelin Ferrell (12) and Austin Bryant (24) round out the Clemson defenders in the top-25 and former five-star prospect and receiver Tee Higgins checks in at No. 40:

"At 6-4, 200 pounds, Higgins is an imposing target, and his long strides and quick breaks make him nearly impossible to defend. He came on strong late last season before an injury derailed his Sugar Bowl, but he owned the field during Clemson's spring game and appears poised to become one of the ACC's best players in 2018."

Clemson tied with Alabama for the most top-50 players overall (5).

In an additional writeup, four of the five ESPN panelists said five-star freshman QB Trevor Lawrence is the most likely non-top-50 member to be there by season's end.

"It is hard to get a gauge for what true freshman quarterback Lawrence will do for the Tigers this season," ESPN's Andrea Adelson said, "but the expectation is for Clemson to find a way to use him -- at least in the early going this season. Though coach Dabo Swinney has repeatedly said Kelly Bryant is the starter, it is hard to ignore the potential Lawrence brings to the passing game, an area Clemson has identified as one that must improve this season.

"Coaches have spent the offseason trying to tamp down the expectations on the ESPN 300 talent, but that hasn't stopped all the speculation about whether Lawrence will eventually surpass Bryant. If he does, then chances are high he will have a spot on this list at the end of the year."



Tags: Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Tee Higgins, Trevor Lawrence, Kelly Bryant
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