ESPN expects Clemson's defense to set the standard moving forward


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Bresee and Murphy will play a key role in Clemson's future success. (ACC photo)
Bresee and Murphy will play a key role in Clemson's future success. (ACC photo)

ESPN broke out the crystal ball to peer into the future for Clemson's defense in the national picture -- and they see a bright outlook ahead($).

Forecasting next three seasons, ESPN sees Clemson as having the top defense in the nation.

"Clemson's defense wasn't quite as dominant in 2020, but the unit sets up well to meet the elite standard displayed throughout coordinator Brent Venables' tenure," Adam Rittenberg wrote. "Defensive line has become one of Clemson's signature position groups and will remain so as Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee log at least two more seasons in Death Valley."

Strong recruiting has Clemson set up well moving forward.

"A veteran secondary seeks an upgrade after struggling in the CFP semifinal loss to Ohio State," said Rittenberg. "Like Skalski, safety Nolan Turner is back for a sixth season to lead the group (190 tackles, six interceptions in 55 games) and forms a solid tandem with Lannden Zanders. Clemson loses top cornerback Derion Kendrick, but Andrew Booth Jr., Sheridan Jones and Mario Goodrich all started games in 2020. Five-star linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. headlines Clemson's 2021 recruiting class, which also includes two other top-100 prospect defenders (tackles Payton Page, end Cade Denhoff) and seven total ESPN 300 defenders."

Rounding out the top-5 are opener-opponent Georgia, then Alabama, Texas A&M and Ohio State. The next best out of the ACC is all the way back at 22nd, in Miami, as the only other ACC team on the list.

ESPN ranked Clemson's future offense as No. 3 moving forward.

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