2017 Opponents' Quarterbacks

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2017 Opponents’ Quarterbacks

Clemson enters the 2017 football season with an even bigger target on its back. Preparing for the defending national champions carries bigger implications. What makes this season even more interesting is the number of outstanding quarterbacks the Tigers will face this season. Here is a look at the top five quarterbacks Brent Venables and the Clemson defense will have to prepare for this season:

Lamar Jackson-Louisville

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is one of the most interesting players in the country. At times he looks like one of the most exciting players in college football; other times he looks confused. A sophomore season that included 3,500 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing and a total of 51 touchdowns would give any fan base a charge. However, Louisville fans also saw his mistakes, including the three-game losing streak at the end of the season. Jackson lost seven starters on offense from a year ago and will have to carry a young offense this season.

Deondre Francois-Florida State

The Florida State signal caller had a very good freshman season. I loved the toughness he showed. As a freshman he had 3,350 yards passing with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. My guess is his role will increase this season as the Seminoles will trust him with more of the playbook this season.

Jarrett Stidham-Auburn

Stidham had a very good freshman season at Baylor before transferring to a JUCO. As a freshman he was 75 of 109 for 1,265 yards with 12 touchdowns and only two picks. He was a backup until late in the season when he was forced into action due to the starter’s injury. Against Kansas State he went 23 of 33 for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Against Oklahoma he went 16 of 27 for 257 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. Against Oklahoma State he went 12 of 21 for 258 yards with a touchdown. This should be one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC this season and a reason for the huge expectations at Auburn this season.

Ryan Finley-NC State

I thought Finley had a very good sophomore season. He passed for over 3,000 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. I think NC State could have a breakout season this year, but the Wolfpack offense will have a new offensive coordinator at the helm.

Jake Bentley-South Carolina

You could make a case that Eric Dungy from Syracuse might be one of the top five signal callers Clemson will face this season, but I went with Bentley here. Like Lamar Jackson, when Bentley was on, he was good, but when he was off, it looked bad. However, we must realize he was only a freshman. I don’t blame Clemson fans for not being afraid of Bentley after his first half performance in last year’s rivalry game.

At this point, the quarterbacking situation at Virginia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are still unsettled and can’t be counted on to become a strength.

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