Every once in a while, there comes a sports statistic that makes fans scratch their heads and ask out loud: “Will we ever see this again?” You can recall Buster Posey playing all nine positions in a college game as a recent sports anomaly, and today we will discuss another that we doubt will happen anytime soon.
The Clemson Tigers did something that could be unprecedented and shows how truly talented this team is.
Clemson played 111 players in a recent victory
This is incredible not only due to the sheer size of the roster but the fact that a lot of the players are highly touted recruits. Coach Dabo Swinney has built one of the best programs in the country and if Clemson doesn’t finish with a top-10 recruiting class, it should be deemed a failure. They have two national championship victories over Alabama under Sweeney, and could capture a third this season.
Playing this way against Charlotte was smart for two reasons. The first is it gives reserves game-time experience, in case they are called upon due to an injury. The second is that the Tigers avoid any major injuries in a game that won’t have an effect on the conference or national championship races as long as they pick up the victory.
Depth at all the right positions
The Tigers’ depth is uncanny. It starts on the defensive side of the ball, with the defensive line reloading instead of rebuilding after losing three linemen to the first round of the 2019 NFL draft.
They are led by Xavier Thomas, who was the No. 1 recruit entering college last season. He has already built up a dominant resume as a sophomore and spearheads a defense that is allowing just 10 points per game.
On the offensive side of the ball, the wide receiver position is loaded, with five-star recruits coming in every year. Trevor Lawrence will be the quarterback for at least one more season, but it hasn’t stopped the Tigers from landing a four-star prospect in the 2019 class.
Building a culture of winning
While it seems like Clemson’s success has grown overnight, Dabo has built a strong staff around him, with an atmosphere that oozes accountability even to the star players.
Brent Venables leads the defense, and although he has had opportunities to become a head coach elsewhere, he has taken on a masterful role as defensive coordinator and associate head coach.
How will the rest of the schedule play out?
The one thing Clemson has going for them is a lack of a clear-cut No. 2 team in the ACC. We all thought Syracuse would be the primary challenger to that spot, but after getting blasted by Maryland, the Orange didn’t have enough and fell to the Tigers at home 41-6 in a lopsided beat down.
The rest of the schedule looks fairly easy to navigate, with an inconsistent Florida State team up next, and a true road game against NC State that could give the team trouble.
Other than that we don’t see anyone stopping the Tigers from running the table all the way to the College Football Playoff. This will be another banner campaign and could cement Dabo’s status as the best college football coach in America.
Will Clemson run the table?
Do you think the Clemson Tigers can run through the ACC and finish the regular season undefeated? Will they have another game where they suit up over 100 players? If you want more news from around the college football world, be sure to check out our NCAA section.