By Brian DeLucia
The story of the 2015 football season for the Clemson Tigers will be whether they can maintain consistency and reach a championship level. This is a program that lost Chad Morris, their coordinator on the offensive side of the ball, and Vic Beasley, who created a lot of pressure on the defensive side. Those are significant loses. The elite programs re-load and move forward. Is that what we can expect from the Clemson Tigers?
They could have the most significant threat at the quarterback position in the ACC with Deshaun Watson. Watson has the athleticism to take over games with how well he moves around the pocket, but he also has shown he can push the ball downfield.
The question now is whether they can keep Watson healthy, who was not physically mature enough to handle the physical demands of major college football. How Watson develops physically to ensure he can stay on the field will determine how far the Tigers go this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, I am really excited about Jayron Kearse patrolling the deep part of the field. Kearse makes a lot of balls on the ball from over the top and shows good range to cover the sidelines. At the same time, Kearse is not afraid to provide support near the line of scrimmage and has proven to be effective on the blitz.
Mackenzie Alexander has an opportunity to become a lockdown corner in his sophomore season while I also believe Ben Boulware will make his presence known at linebacker. Boulware does not have any special physical traits, but seems to find the ball naturally.
The schedule is manageable, but the middle of season will determine the fate of the Tigers. Clemson has an intriguing matchup at home against Notre Dame followed by Georgia Tech to begin October, with Florida State in mid-November.