Clemson returning production paces Power 5-best


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Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant are among all four Tigers with double-digit pressures returning for 2018.
Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant are among all four Tigers with double-digit pressures returning for 2018.

Those NFL-or-college decisions made in January have Clemson uniquely positioned nationally.

SB Nation tallied that 74 percent of Clemson’s total production on offense and defense is coming back, which ranks second only to Washington (75) among Power 5 schools that ranked in the site's top-10 in efficiency.

And there’s a notable gap to the next P5 programs in that top-tier, where no other school outside of Washington tops 70 percent. Auburn’s next at 69 percent, with Ohio State (62), Georgia (60) and Alabama (58) also facing some more holes to fill.

Clemson brings back 75 percent of the production on defense, but even with departures of two starting receivers (Deon Cain and Ray Ray McCloud), the offense isn’t far behind at 73 percent.

From year-to-year, four of the top-5 in snaps are coming back in center Justin Falcinelli (932), quarterback Kelly Bryant (886), left tackle Mitch Hyatt (842) and defensive end Clelin Ferrell (717). In terms of starting experience, 73 percent of the Tigers who logged a start last season are slated to return.

The lone departure in that top-5 in snaps is linebacker Dorian O’Daniel, who posted a team-best 104 tackles (11.5 for loss; 11 on special teams), in addition to two pick-sixes, three pass breakups and six QB pressures in 718 snaps.

All four Tigers who tallied double-digit QB pressures will be back in Ferrell (12), Austin Bryant (12), Christian Wilkins (11) and Kendall Joseph (10).

Reserve defensive tackle Albert Huggins ranked fifth on the team in tackles for loss (5) despite playing the 18th-most snaps (220).

On the offensive side, Clemson’s leader in receptions Hunter Renfrow paces the receiver corps (60), which is set to return six Tigers who caught double-digit passes last season.

All five rushers with double-digit attempts are currently slated to return, with the trio of Kelly Bryant (192), Travis Etienne (107) and Tavien Feaster (107) all topping 100 rushing touches.

Per Pro Football Focus, Etienne is the ACC’s far-and-away leading returner in elusive rating (129.2), showcasing his ability to run through contact as a freshman to a 7.2 yards per rush average.


Hyatt’s return shores up an offensive line which brings back four with starting experience and five who logged 300 snaps or more last season.

Playing time breakdown: 2017 season totals
(Noted: Snaps here are tracked for depth-chart contributors and select scholarship athletes. The participation report is provided by Clemson. Players leaving due to graduation, NFL draft or transfer in italics. Season starts in parentheses.)

Offense (33)

Quarterback (3): Kelly Bryant 886 (14 starts), Zerrick Cooper 104, Hunter Johnson 76.
Running Back (4): Tavien Feaster 371 (11), Travis Etienne 244, C.J. Fuller 227 (3), Adam Choice 173.
Wide Receiver (9): Deon Cain 665 (13), Hunter Renfrow 661 (13), Ray Ray McCloud 626 (14), Trevion Thompson 247 (1), Amari Rodgers 239, Diondre Overton 236, Tee Higgins 179, T.J. Chase 170, Cornell Powell 149.
Tight End (5): Milan Richard 600 (14), Cannon Smith 176 (1), D.J. Greenlee 169, Shadell Bell 54, J.C. Chalk 46.
Offensive Line (12): Justin Falcinelli 932 (14), Mitch Hyatt 842 (13), Taylor Hearn 777 (14), Tyrone Crowder 599 (13), Tremayne Anchrum 577 (6), Sean Pollard 510 (9), Maverick Morris 409 (1), John Simpson 300, Gage Cervenka 101, Cade Stewart 98, Chandler Reeves 53, Zach Giella 34.

Defense (33)
Defensive End (6): Clelin Ferrell 717 (14), Austin Bryant 677 (14), Chris Register 221, Justin Foster 84, Xavier Kelly 76, Logan Rudolph 26*.
Defensive Tackle (6): Christian Wilkins 668 (14), Dexter Lawrence 438 (12), Albert Huggins 220 (2), Jabril Robinson 206, Nyles Pinckney 174, Sterling Johnson 83.
Linebackers (9): Dorian O’Daniel 718 (14), Kendall Joseph 679 (12), J.D. Davis 332 (3), Tre Lamar 331 (8), Jalen Williams 193, James Skalski 174 (2), Chad Smith 133, Shaq Smith 73, Judah Davis 54.
DB (CB/S/NB – 12): Ryan Carter 686 (14), Trayvon Mullen 658 (12), Van Smith 640 (13), Tanner Muse 482 (9), K’Von Wallace 428 (6), Isaiah Simmons 258, Mark Fields 246 (4), A.J. Terrell 237, Marcus Edmond 57, Amir Trapp 57, Denzel Johnson 53, Nolan Turner 44.

2017 redshirts: CB LeAnthony Williams, OG Matt Bockhorst, OT Blake Vinson, QB Chase Brice, OT Noah DeHond, LB Baylon Spector, DE Jordan Williams.
* Medical redshirt.

Returning production for 2018 opponents (SB Nation)

Georgia Southern - 3rd (85 percent on offense; 95 percent on defense)
Duke - 11th (82 percent on offense; 78 percent on defense)
Boston College - 31st (81 percent on offense; 65 percent on defense)
Texas A&M - 35th (66 percent on offense; 78 percent on defense)
Wake Forest - 37th (74 percent on offense; 69 percent on defense)
South Carolina - 67th (84 percent on offense; 47 percent on defense)
Syracuse - 75th (59 percent on offense; 68 percent on defense)
Florida State - 93rd (74 percent on offense; 46 percent on defense)
Georgia Tech - 98th (66 percent on offense; 52 percent on defense)
NC State - 112th (70 percent on offense; 35 percent on defense)
Louisville - 124th (54 percent on offense; 38 percent on defense)

Tags: Marcus Edmond, Tyrone Crowder, Maverick Morris, Ryan Carter, C.J. Fuller, Trevion Thompson, Taylor Hearn, Chris Register, Cannon Smith, Milan Richard, Justin Falcinelli
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