ACC 2013 Spring Football Preview: Clemson Tigers

Is Former Backup Roderick McDowell Ready to Take Over for Clemson at RB?

Is Former Backup Roderick McDowell Ready to Take Over for Clemson at RB?

As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.

Team: Clemson Tigers

Spring Practice Start Date: March 6

Spring Game Date: April 13

Following two-straight seasons of more than 10 wins, Clemson’s suddenly in the national spotlight and a real threat to win the ACC and the National Championship (and maybe even the Heisman trophy too). But even as they bring back a strong group of both players and coaches, there’s still plenty left to figure out heading in 2013 if they’re going to live up to the very lofty expectations attached to them.

Offensive coordinator Chad Morris has returned for another year with the Tigers, meaning and he couldn’t be stocked with a better weapon than quarterback Tajh Boyd. Around the senior, though, there’s questions at wide receiver and running back, along with a gaping hole at center, formerly filled by NFL-bound Dalton Freeman. The odds-on favorite to fill that center spot is currently Ryan Norton, though he could also be challenged by redshirt sophomore Jay Guillermo. At receiver, Sammy Watkins will be called upon to quickly regain the all-world stature he’d reached as a freshman in 2011, especially without an experienced safety net to remove the pressure this time around. With Watkins at the top spot on the depth chart, Charone Peake and Martavis Bryant will likely take some time this spring to gain a better rapport with Boyd and prove they can handle a larger role in Clemson’s dynamic passing game. The Tigers must also replace the departed Andre Ellington at running back, but can luckily plug his experienced backup, Roderick McDowell (450 yards, five TDs in 2012), right into the role.

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National Signing Day 2012: Top 15 ACC Recruits

Top-Ranked Recruit, DE Mario Edwards, Chose Florida State on National Signing Day

National Signing Day was an eventful one for the ACC, which took home several of the country’s top recruits, and placed three teams in the top 10 of ESPN’s class rankings. We’ll start our recap of the day by first looking at the top players to commit to ACC schools. For consistency’s sake, we’re going off ESPN/Scout’s rankings.

Top 15 ACC Recruits

1. Mario Edwards, DE/Florida State (No. 1 overall, Grade: 90)

2. Eddie Goldman, DT/Florida State (No. 10 overall, Grade: 85)

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (No. 14 overall, Grade: 84)

4. Travis Blanks, S/Clemson (No. 15 overall, Grade: 84)

5. Tracy Howard, CB/Miami (FL) (No. 18 overall, Grade: 83)

6. Rushell Shell, RB/Pittsburgh (No. 26 overall, Grade: 83)

7. Randy Johnson, ATH/Miami (FL) (No. 35 overall, Grade: 82)

8. Ronald Darby, CB/Florida State (No. 38 overall, Grade: 82)

9. Angelo Jean-Louis, WR/Miami (FL) (No. 41 overall, Grade: 82)

10. Mario Pender, RB/Florida State (No. 72 overall, Grade; 81) Continue reading