Three members of the Clemson Tigers have been named to the Preseason All-ACC team: QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins and K Chandler Catanzaro. However I believe these three have what it takes to represent Clemson as All Americans as well.
Senior quarterback Tajh Boyd will be running the Tigers’ offense, coming off a spectacular performance in last year’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl in which Clemson defeated LSU 25-24 on a last second field goal. Boyd, along with being a preseason All-ACC pick and All-American watch, is an early favorite to win this year’s Heisman. He is projected to be the 2nd quarterback taken in the draft behind Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, who in my opinion has not proved himself enough to be a higher draft pick than Tajh Boyd at this time. Even with the loss of DeAndre Hopkins, look for Boyd to light up opposing defenses. He has three receivers (Sammy Watkins, Charone Peake, Martavis Bryant) who all have run unofficial sub 4.3 40 yard dash times, so keep an eye out for some long balls from the signal caller. With Clemson’s dynamic offense all in Tajh’s hands, he should be able to put up some big, potentially record-breaking numbers.
Junior receiver Sammy Watkins is now stepping into the number one receiver role on the outside part of the field, something he hasn’t done at Clemson because of DeAndre Hopkins. But with Hopkins gone, Sammy will obviously be Boyd’s first option on many passes. The 6’1” Florida native will most likely get his touches other than just at receiver also. With the natural ability and speed Sammy has, he was an incredibly successful return man for Clemson his freshman year. He also has rushed the ball 46 times for 328 yards and a touchdown in his first two seasons with the Tigers. Look for Watkins to have a big season, stepping into the number one receiver role and being healthy unlike last year. The junior has the potential and all the physical attributes to be one of, if not the best receiver in the country, and I expect him to play that way.
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro must have had a happy offseason. With 2 seconds left in the 2012 Chick-Fil-A Bowl and Clemson down by 1, Catanzaro was sent in. From 37 yards away, Catanzaro put it right down the middle and won the game for the Tigers. The former walk-on started for the Tigers as a freshman, and will look to contribute to Clemson’s much anticipated 2013 campaign. In his career, Catanzaro is 54-68 fon field goals and has converted 143-146 extra point attempts. In Clemson’s opener against Georgia, the Tigers are only 3.5 point favorites over the bulldogs. Being that the game is in Death Valley, one would assume those 3.5 points are coming from nothing but the simple fact that Clemson has home field advantage. In a close game, it could be Catanzaro’s leg that decides the contest. Look for the redshirt graduate kicker to make a big impact on closely decided games for the Tigers this year.
Clemson looks to take the ACC title again this year, and with the help from these potential All Americans, the Tigers should have another successful season.