Dabo Swinney is not surprised by how his team has responded in these tough times when they can’t access the Allen Reeves Football Complex or get together as a team for any activities.
Like the rest of the world, Clemson is doing its best with the tools it does have, such as video conferences, facetime and social media, to stay connected and out in front of things. Swinney can’t brag enough about the leadership on his football team.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has had them quarantined at home and away from the program, the Tigers are still working through it all.
“I love the leadership of this team,” Swinney said recently.
A lot of other people love Clemson’s leadership, too. Which is perhaps why Las Vegas has the Tigers as their top pick to win the national championship this year. ESPN’s FPI also has the Tigers as the team to beat entering the college football season. It is the third straight year Clemson will enter a new season as the favorite to win it all.
Why is Clemson the standard now in college football?
It helps that the Tigers return two-time ACC Player of the Year Travis Etienne at running back, All-ACC quarterback Trevor Lawrence, NFL talent at wide receiver in Justyn Ross and Amari Rodgers, as well as experienced and talented players all over on defense.
Clemson will enter the 2020 football season, not matter what it looks like, in better position than most other programs.
“I think, when you look at what we have at quarterback, and you look at that first group of offensive line, you look at what we have at receiver and tight end. Over on the defensive line, it is totally different than where we were at this time last year,” Swinney said. “There is Just more experience, more depth and more competitive depth. Great leadership at linebacker. Unbelievably committed people at linebacker. Super excited about our safeties in that room and then, we obviously got Fred [Davis] in here this spring and got a chance to see him a little bit.
“I think, when it is all said and done, our cornerback room is going to be pretty special as well. Sheridan Jones, DK [Derion Kendrick] is obviously back, Mario [Goodrich] is a guy that we have high, high hopes for and is getting healthy. LeAnthony [Williams] had a great nine days of practice and there is really just another level of maturity to him. So, it is a good group.”
Though he will not admit it, Swinney himself plays the biggest role in Clemson’s success. He is currently the winningest active coach in college football from a win percentage standpoint. The Tigers are also the only team in the nation the last five years to produce at least five consecutive 12-win seasons.
Clemson also has the nation’s best record at 69-5 since the start of the 2015 season. Since then, the Tigers have played for four national championships, won two of them and made the College Football Playoff all five seasons, the only program in the country that can make that claim.
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