What happened to Clemson's depth? It's all in the numbers
|Sunday, November 16, 2014, 7:01 AM- -|
ATLANTA, GA – Hang around any college football program long enough, and you’ll recognize that the atmosphere in the aftermath of any loss is usually one that leads to second-guessing, armchair quarterbacking and finger-pointing.
If it’s a particularly depressing loss, all of those events increase ten-fold, and Clemson’s loss to Georgia Tech Saturday in Atlanta was particularly galling. The big question – if recruiting has been going as well as we’ve been led to believe then how can this team and this offense be so reliant on one player?
It also leads fans to question every part of the program, including strength and conditioning and even team doctors. On the ride home, we sat and talked about the state of the Clemson program and it became evident early in the conversation that Clemson’s depth has been hurt by injuries this season, but in looking back at previous recruiting classes it also became evident that there are a significant number of recruits who are either done playing because of physical problems, have transferred out of the program or been dismissed by head coach
Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile .
Add in early entrants into the NFL Draft and Clemson’s depth – or lack thereof – becomes particularly noticeable. Obviously the numbers are skewed because many of the players who leave or are dismissed or have injuries have their spots taken by recruits at some point over the next two seasons.
However, many of those spots are taken by walk-ons and that was never more evident than Saturday when freshman
Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
#4 6-3, 204
View Full Profile was injured. Senior Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
#18 6-4, 231
View Full Profile was ineffective, but the next three options on the depth chart are either former walk-ons or walk-ons.
A closer look at the numbers - and you can make your own decisions - but a startling 25 players from the recruiting classes from 2010-14 are either no longer with the program or have had their careers cut short by injury. When you have only 85 scholarships, that’s a big number.
Listed below are all of the players who signed with Clemson and are no longer on the Tigers roster for one reason or another. If even just a few of these were still in school it would greatly improve Clemson’s depth, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Clemson had three quarterbacks on the roster at some point over the last four years that have all transferred or been forced to retire due to injury –
Morgan RobertsMorgan Roberts
RS Fr. Quarterback
#15 6-2, 200
View Full Profile is now the starting quarterback at Yale, Tony McNealTony McNeal
RS Fr. Quarterback
#12 6-0, 195
View Full Profile was never able to fully recover from knee injuries and Chad KellyChad Kelly
RS Fr. Quarterback
#11 6-2, 210
View Full Profile was of course dismissed from the team early this year.
There are 4 wide receivers, two running backs, and six offensive linemen no longer with the Clemson program.
4-star wide receiver
Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
Wide Receiver (2011 - 2013)
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC
View Full Profile – declared for the NFL as a junior (signed with Clemson in 2010 but had to attend prep school)
2-star linebacker Ricky Chaney – never enrolled
2-star safety Evan McKelvey – never enrolled
3-star quarterback Tony McNeal – forced to retire due to injury
3-star quarterback Morgan Roberts – transferred
4-star quarterback Chad Kelly – dismissed
3-star athlete Marty Williams – never enrolled
Add in Clemson’s injury situation this season, and it makes it even tougher to develop the depth needed to survive a season like this one. Watson and left guard
David BeasleyDavid Beasley
RS Sr. Offensive Guard
#68 6-4, 323
View Full Profile suffered knee injuries Saturday that could end their seasons, and they would join running backs Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Jr. Running Back
#24 6-1, 199
View Full Profile and Adam ChoiceAdam Choice
Fr. Running Back
#26 5-10, 211
View Full Profile , safety Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
#11 6-0, 210
View Full Profile , offensive lineman Oliver Jones and tight end D.J. GreenleeD.J. Greenlee
RS Fr. Tight End
#87 6-1, 240
View Full Profile as Tigers who have suffered season-ending injuries.
Martin JenkinsMartin Jenkins
RS Sr. Cornerback
#14 5-9, 185
View Full Profile , center Jay GuillermoJay Guillermo
RS So. Center
#57 6-3, 314
View Full Profile , wide receiver Charone PeakeCharone Peake
RS Jr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 204
View Full Profile , tight end Sam CooperSam Cooper
RS Sr. Tight End
#86 6-6, 250
View Full Profile and running back D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Sr. Running Back
#22 6-0, 205
View Full Profile have all missed significant playing time this season because of injury.
How bad has it been on Clemson’s offensive line the past few seasons? Tight end
Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS Jr. Offensive Tackle
#78 6-4, 306
Hope Mills, NC
View Full Profile , tight end Zach RiggsZach Riggs
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#54 6-4, 240
View Full Profile and defensive tackle Roderick Byers were each moved over the past few seasons to the line, joining former defensive tackle Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
Offensive Guard (2009 - 2013)
#62 6-3, 295
View Full Profile as players who were moved from other positions in an effort to create depth.
Dismissals. Injuries. Transfers. It’s all in the numbers.