Clemson ranked in Top 10 of ESPN's projected defenses


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Boulware will be back for the 2016 season
Boulware will be back for the 2016 season

ESPN's FPI has released their top projected defenses for 2016 and Clemson is ranked #8 in the nation.

The FPI projects expected points added (EPA) which is "points per game a defense is expected to contribute to the team's net scoring margin, with an average defense expected to contribute zero net points against an average offense."

The main factors in projecting the top defenses using EPA were previous years' efficiencies, last four-year recruiting rankings and coaching tenure.

"Clemson has ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency each of the past three seasons, including leading the nation in 2014 and being second last season," ESPN.com said. "If the Tigers are going to sustain that level of excellence, they will need to replace seven starters, including the nation's leaders in tackles for loss, defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd. The good news for Clemson fans, however, is they were tasked with an even bigger rebuilding project last season (lost nine starters from the 2014 defense) and remained elite. Will Clemson finally feel the effect of losing so many starters or will Brent Venables again work his magic with another young but talented defense?"

The Top 20 projected defenses according to ESPN's FPI were Alabama, LSU, Florida, Washington, Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas A&M, Clemson, Florida State, TCU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Louisville, Michigan, Texas, Ohio State, Michigan State, Georgia, Boston College and Wisconsin.

Tags: Ben Boulware, Kevin Dodd, Shaq Lawson
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