The 2016 season is underway as second-ranked Clemson looks to make it back to the National Championship Game in Tampa.
In this edition of our Up Downs feature we take a look at which players made a move in the last week, which players are elevating their game and their position on the depth chart.
Jadar Johnson – Clemson fans got to see what the coaches have seen in camp from the senior safety. Johnson had a critical interception and critical pass breakups on the final two plays of the game. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had plenty of praise for Johnson during Sunday night’s teleconference with the media.
Dexter Lawrence – We knew we would see plenty of Lawrence, but his impact in his first game for the Tigers exceeded our expectations. Lawrence does not play like a freshman as he had seven tackles, a sack and broke up a pass. His play was critical in the defensive performance. Lawrence even got in the backfield to block on running back Wayne Gallman’s touchdown. Could a touchdown be in his future?
Hunter Renfrow – Just like in the National Championship Game when Clemson needed a crucial touchdown Renfrow came through with an amazing catch. Renfrow is simply making too big of an impact to keep on the sidelines. He and Mike Williams are clutch players and will continue to be the go to guys when needed most by quarterback Deshuan Watson.
Jalen Williams – When Clemson needed to go to another weapon at the nickel position Williams got the call from defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Swinney said on the Sunday teleconference that it was due to the trust coach Venables has in Williams. He’s not built like the typical nickel back, but did a fine job for Clemson on Saturday night.
Korrin Wiggins – Welcome back Korrin Wiggins. Wiggins had an outstanding game Saturday night. His return is huge for a defense lacking experience. Wiggins has plenty and showed that his knee injury is behind him and he is ready to make a significant impact this season. Look for his impact to only increase as the season moves along.
Deon Cain – Cain is back from his suspension, but didn’t make an impact on the Auburn game. Williams is also back and was the go-to guy for Watson all night long. Cain will have to raise the level of his game with Williams back in action if he wants to see more targets this season. We expect he will as the season moves along.
Richard Yeargin – Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell were the two defensive ends that made a significant contribution on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Yeargin saw the most playing time he has seen with the game on the line, but he didn’t have the impact that Ferrell did. When Austin Bryant comes back he and Ferrell will anchor the book ends for the Tigers. Yeargin needs to continue to raise his game to see more playing time as the season moves along.