National Clemson previews project Playoff return


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Trevor Lawrence is the favorite for ACC freshman of the year and is regarded as Clemson's best offensive player by one outlet.
Trevor Lawrence is the favorite for ACC freshman of the year and is regarded as Clemson's best offensive player by one outlet.

National predictions are starting to roll in from the preseason previews and there’s a common theme to the recent ones.

Both Athlon and College Football News are projecting a one-loss Clemson regular season with ACC title and Playoff runs.

Athlon is calling for a 12-1 campaign where the Tigers meet the Miami Hurricanes again in Charlotte’s ACC Championship Game.

“Senior Kelly Bryant will begin fall camp as the starter,” Athlon’s Steven Lassan writes, “but true freshman Trevor Lawrence will challenge for the job. If he wins the job, Lawrence should provide Clemson's offense with more of a downfield passing threat than this unit had in 2017. The Tigers have lost an ACC game in back-to-back years and could stumble once during the regular season. However, Clemson is clearly the pick in the ACC and easily the No. 1 or No. 2 team in college football this year.”

Three Clemson defensive linemen draw ACC Defensive Player of the Year votes from Athlon writers in Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell. Trevor Lawrence earns three of the four ‘Top Freshman’ votes, as well as one ‘Breakout Player’ tag.

While 9-3 in overall record, Athlon sees Florida State as just a game behind the Tigers in their Atlantic Division projection (6-2).

CFN’s Pete Fiutak sees a motivated Clemson team shining as one part in a bright future for the program.

“Clemson gets to not only come back with one of the most talented and deepest teams in college football,” Fiutak writes, “ but it gets to have a chip on its shoulder after not even getting to Atlanta last season as the No. 1 seed in the CFP…

“Dabo Swinney has created a machine at Clemson, and this doesn’t appear to be the culmination of anything, even if it finishes with another national title. And that’s the best part of it all. If this turns into one of those amazing teams that doesn’t quite get it done, go ahead and ramp up the expectations again next year.”

CFN has already tabbed Clemson’s 5-star freshman QB as the second-most “realistic” Heisman candidate. Lawrence is declared Clemson’s best offensive player in the preview.

“Trevor Lawrence is the most talented and best player on the Clemson offense,” Fiutak writes. “Again, he might not be able to show it off until 2019, but with his 6-5, 205-pound size, big arm, silky-smooth mechanics, and out-of-the-box next-level passing skills, the talent and upside is there to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.”

Tags: Kelly Bryant, Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Trevor Lawrence
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