OL Spring Outlook
|Monday, February 20, 2017, 9:20 AM- -|
OL Spring Outlook
With four returning starters, Clemson has what some could call one of the best offensive lines in the country. Mitch Hyatt returns for his third season as a starter and could be an All-American candidate this season. He has been a very consistent piece of this offense for two straight seasons. I can only recall one sack he has allowed in two years. Hyatt has stayed healthy and produced week in and week out. He has to be considered one of the best left tackles in school history.
Sean Pollard and Tremayne Anchrum return at tackle, and both were fantastic as true freshmen. It is rare to see young offensive linemen step in and play in such key roles, but Pollard and Anchrum didn't flinch last season. Pollard basically beat out Jake Fruhmorgen, which led to Fruhmorgen transferring. Pollard plays with a nasty streak and continued to improve each week. He faces a big spring where he could take another jump.
Anchrum is a very smart player that could be the swing guy who plays both tackle spots. Like Pollard, he didn't flinch when he entered the game as a true freshman.
Clemson has four very experienced and talented guards heading into the spring. Tyrone Crowder will be a three-year starter and an All-ACC candidate again this season. His pass protection got better, but he really excels in the run game.
Taylor Hearn comes back as a starter after a solid season, but he will have to fend off fast charging John Simpson this spring. Hearn had some great efforts last season and is another swing guy that could also play some tackle.
As a true freshman last season, Simpson looked like a future All-American. He has perhaps the best body of the linemen, and he moves really well. I would not be shocked to see him make a jump and push for a starting spot this spring.
Maverick Morris is a key offensive lineman as well. The staff loves his versatility and feels comfortable with him in any situation. He has played both guard spots and tackle spots and is a very dependable option who gets quality snaps.
The only position not held by a returning starter is center where Clemson has to replace Jay Guillermo. Justin Falcinelli has the most experience here, and he may have the inside track. Zach Giella, Gage Cervenka and Cade Stewart are younger center prospects, and the staff likes their upside as well. Stewart got a look at other spots while red-shirting, but could get a look back at center this spring.
Clemson has played five true freshmen the last two seasons and signed three good offensive linemen in this class, but because of the depth created, I doubt we will see many snaps from the freshman class this fall.
There are many question marks this spring. Who will be the center? Who is the fourth tackle? Can Simpson move into the starting lineup?
The best news here is there is a lot of talent and depth along this offensive line to provide answers.
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