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College Football Preview: 14. Clemson Tigers

14. Clemson Tigers Returning Starters: 14 Returning Star: WR Sammy Watkins Key Loss: TE Dwayne Allen Player to Watch: DE Malliciah Goodman Clemson started off last season 8-0 and then cooled off. Significantly. If they play like they did in the first half of 2011, this team could win the ACC. Junior quarterback Tajh Boyd could be one of the best players in the ACC if he can cut down on his turnovers. Boyd has a great arm that can throw deep but he isn't very accurate and will occasionally telegraph his passes. He is also a very athletic QB that has a great receiver in Sammy Watkins. Watkins had an outstanding freshman year and ended up an All-American. Watkins has terrific speed and great field vision. He can be effective at short range but can also be Boyd's top "home run" target. Junior DeAndre Hopkins often gets overlooked due to Watkins but could be an All-ACC wide out in 2012. Senior Jaron Brown also returns along with sophomore Adam Humphries, both will help Boyd continue to mature. The backfield got a big boost when senior Andre Ellington decided to return. Ellington is pretty athletic and can catch the ball out the backfield. Sophomores D.J. Howard and Mike Bellamy should also get carries. The offensive line is an issue due to the fact that three starters are gone. Center Dalton Freeman was an All-ACC center last year and should continue to mature. The defense is hoping to improve considerably this season and it needs to (who let up 70 points in the Orange Bowl last season). The defensive line is one of the worst in the Atlantic Coast. Malliciah Goodman had just two sacks last year but should have a big year without Andre Branch stealing sacks. Sophomore DeShawn Williams should improve in his first year as starter. Linebacker Corico Hawkins is big and hits hard. Hawkins is also a decent coverage man and can apply pressure. In short, he is an all around monster. Senior Jonathan Williard is also a reliable tackler. The secondary is more experienced thanks to the return of seniors Xavier Brewer and Jonathan Meeks. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro's return helps a lot. If the Tigers can play defense this team will win the ACC. Heisman Hopeful: Sammy Watkins ACC Rank: 1st

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