It’s obvious the media thinks the gap between Clemson and the rest of the ACC is huge.
A day after the league’s media overwhelming picked the Tigers to win a fifth straight ACC Championship, they came back with even more evidence of the gap on Tuesday. Thirteen of the 22 offensive and defensive players on the preseason All-ACC team come from Clemson, including eight on offense.
Clemson’s quarterback, running back, two best receivers and all four senior offensive linemen were voted on to the team.
“Every year is exciting. When you have a talented group, it is probably a little bit more exciting,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “You know, it does not feel a lot different than last year or the year before. I think we have been fortunate on offense and defense to have some talented groups every year. So, that is not really new.
“But, I think, just being able to start over and being able to see how this group comes together in August and what it starts to look like as we get ready for that opener. I think that is probably the most exciting part of this time of year.”
It’s exciting for Clemson to know it returns the reigning ACC Player of the Year in running back Travis Etienne as well as the media’s preseason favorite in quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who ran away from his backfield teammate in Tuesday’s voting, 127-24.
The Tigers also return the media’s top two choices at wide receiver. Tee Higgins earned 145 votes, while Ross was second with 123.
By the way, Lawrence gathered 161 of the 173 votes for All-ACC quarterback, more than any other player on the preseason team, while Etienne had 144 votes.
On the offensive line, left guard John Simpson received 136 votes to lead the way, while right tackle Tremayne Anchrum had 100 votes. Sean Pollard got 75 votes for All-ACC center, while Gage Cervenka had 45 at right guard.
“We don’t talk about (the expectations) at all,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “We are trying not to create a thought in their mind that might not already exist, but we understand how big the target is on our back.
“The mentality here is to embrace the target. So, we don’t talk about pressure. We understand that the rankings, it is just that time of the year where everybody is going to be talking. That is for everybody else to be talking. We understand and we know what the formula is for success. It goes back to starting over. We have not done anything in 2019.”
The Tigers will start over on Aug. 1 when fall camp opens.
“We will get what we earn,” Elliott said. “What we earn is what we put on the field, so we don’t talk about pressure. We focus on being the best version of our self and if that transpires into being one of the best teams then so be it. But ultimately, we are focused on being the best version of our self.”
Last year, the Tigers led the ACC and ranked third nationally in total offense, averaging 527.2 yards per game. They also led the conference in scoring and ranked fourth nationally by averaging 44.3 points per outing.
It’s obvious why the media thinks Clemson is just in a class by itself in the ACC.