Spring Preview: Center position is a wide-open race

Spring Preview: Center position is a wide-open race

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Spring Preview: Center position is a wide-open race

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Does any Clemson coach have as much work to do this year than Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell?

The veteran coach is in charge of replacing four starters on the offensive line due to the graduation of Tremayne Anchrum at right tackle, John Simpson at left guard, Gage Cervenka at right guard and Sean Pollard at center.

Those four players helped Clemson finish 11th nationally in sacks allowed with an average of 1.20 per game and were 13th in rushing yards per game at 240.4. The Tigers also led the country in rushing yards per carry at 6.4.

Pollard’s departure will mark the second straight year, and the third time in the last four years, Clemson will have a new starter at center.

The competition is wide open this spring with Cade Stewart, Hunter Rayburn and Mason Trotter expected to battle for the starting job.

Here is a look at what the Clemson depth chart could look like at the center position going into spring practice. Clemson starts spring practice on Feb. 26.

Cade Stewart, *Sr., 6-3, 305: Stewart has been a backup the last three seasons at the position while logging in 698 career snaps in 37 games. He played in 13 games last season, recording a career-high 335 snaps. He played in six games in which he recorded at least 27 snaps. He had a season-high 40 against Boston College, while getting 32 against Charlotte and 30 against Wake Forest. He had 28 snaps in the Tigers’ win over the Gamecocks, while also tallying 28 in the ACC Championship Game against Virginia. He had 27 snaps in the win over NC State.

Hunter Rayburn, *Fr., 6-4, 315: Rayburn redshirted last year after playing in four games. He recorded 40 snaps, including a season-high 14 against Boston College. A 4-star recruit coming out of high school, ESPN ranked him as the 18th best offensive guard in the country. He started all four years in high school and was an All-State selection in Florida after his senior year. He is expected to cross train at center and at the guard positions in the spring.

Mason Trotter, *Fr., 6-2, 270: Trotter redshirted last season after playing in four games. He recorded 46 snaps, including a season-high 19 against Wofford as the Tigers racked up a season-best 702 total yards in the 59-14 win. A native of Roebuck, South Carolina, Trotter was a three-year starter at Dorman High School where he was a two-time All-Region selection. He also earned All-State honors as a senior. He started 41 games for Dorman. Caldwell said prior to the national championship game the coaches were going to cross train Trotter at center this spring and see if he can compete there as well.

Note: *redshirt

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