In 2019, Clemson will return eight starters on offense that started at least seven games last season.
Those eight starters were a part of the best offensive unit in school history as the Tigers ranked third nationally in total offense (527.2 yards/game), fourth in scoring (44.3 points/game) and 10th in rushing (248.2 yards/game).
According to Clemson’s spring media guide, the 2019 season will mark the second time in school history (and the second time in the last four years) Clemson has returned a 3,000-yard passer (Trevor Lawrence), a 1,500-yard rusher (Travis Etienne) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Justyn Ross) in the same year. The only other Clemson team to welcome back such a trio was the eventual national champion 2016 squad, which returned quarterback Deshaun Watson, running back Wayne Gallman and wide receiver Mike Williams.
However, the three holes the Tigers had to fill this spring are key ones to fill. All-American left tackle Mitch Hyatt is gone, as is two-time All-ACC center Justin Falcinelli and Clemson’s record holder for career starts and consecutive games with at least one catch at wide receiver in Hunter Renfrow.
“It was a really good spring,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “Obviously, we have a lot of parts coming back, but we really wanted to start over. It is a new year. It is a new offense. Mitch Hyatt is not there. Hunter Renfrow isn’t there. We lost some guys, Justin Falcinelli. So, we had some spots we needed to fill.”
And Scott feels they have filled them. Former five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman has taken over for Hyatt at left tackle, while Sean Pollard has moved inside and is working at center in the place of Falcinelli.
Replacing Renfrow might be a little more difficult than expected. Amari Rodgers tore his ACL in the second half of spring drills, and his return for the start of the season is unlikely, though head coach Dabo Swinney feels he has a shot to do it depending on how his rehabilitation goes.
Right now, the Tigers have Cornell Powell, T.J. Chase and Diondre Overton competing for the slot position heading into August Camp.
“Obviously, we knew we had the pieces to go in (those spots). They just needed the opportunity to go out there and work together,” said Scott, who also coaches Clemson’s wide receivers. “I felt like we did that. I felt like we got better. We still have four months to go before we get back in August.
“I know those guys will work extremely hard this summer.”