ESPN: Offseason spotlight on Clemson OL


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From Heather Dinich of ESPN:

2011 summary: The senior-laden group comprised of Phillip PricePhillip Price
RS Sr. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-5, 315
Dillon, SC

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, Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS So. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 300
Spartanburg, SC

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, Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#55 6-5, 285
Pelion, SC

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, Antoine McClainAntoine McClain
Sr. Offensive Guard
#74 6-6, 335
Anniston, AL

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and Landon WalkerLandon Walker
Gr. Offensive Tackle
#72 6-6, 305
North Wilkesboro, NC

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fared remarkably well with a new offensive line coach, a new offensive coordinator, a first-year starting quarterback, and a new system. The Tigers paved the way for the nation’s No. 24 scoring offense at 33.57 points per game. They were integral in blocking for a 1,000-yard rusher (Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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), 1,000-yard receiver (Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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) and 3,000-yard passer (Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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).

The skinny: You can argue the defensive line needs an equally big offseason, but consider this: At this time in 2008, coming off of the 2007 season, Clemson ranked in the top 25 and had James DavisJames Davis
Running Back
# 6-0, 205
Atlanta, GA

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, C.J. SpillerC.J. Spiller
Pro Running Back
#28 5-11, 195
Lake Butler, FL

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, Cullen Harper and Aaron Kelly — all of whom were returning from fantastic seasons. The Tigers were a top-10 preseason pick, but had to replace four starters on the offensive line. Clemson finished 7-6 and midway through the season, Tommy Bowden was fired. Even with all of those outstanding skill position players returning, Clemson couldn’t get it done up front, and it was a major factor in the team’s implosion that year. This spring, the Tigers have to replace three starters up front, as Freeman and Thompson are the only two returning starters. The staff moved Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS So. Defensive Tackle
#43 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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from defensive tackle to offensive guard. He’s a 6-foot-3, 295-pound redshirt junior who is a quick athlete and could play a role in 2012.

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