Continuity is often the key to success, and Clemson’s offensive line should have that in 2017.
The Tigers return four starters from last season’s offensive line and four additional players who saw significant playing time in 2016.
Clemson’s offensive line didn’t always receive rave reviews last season, especially as a run-blocking unit, so the Tigers could still look to mix things up. The team will be replacing center Jay Guillermo, who was a leader for the offensive line and the entire team.
Left tackle Mitch Hyatt, left guard Taylor Hearn, right guard Tyrone Crowder and right tackle Sean Pollard all started for the Tigers this past season. Crowder, a senior, is the Tigers’ most experienced lineman. Hyatt, a junior, and Crowder will both be third-year starters in 2017.
Tremayne Anchrum started one game at left tackle last season and participated in 11 of 15 games. Maverick Morris, who started three games at right guard in 2015, played snaps off the bench in all 15 games last season. Interior lineman Justin Falcinelli appeared in 10 games last season, while left guard John Simpson appeared in nine.
Gage Cervenka, Zach Giella, Pat Godfrey, Noah Green, Seth Penner and Logan Tisch all saw occasional playing time last season as redshirt freshmen.
Clemson signed three offensive linemen in this year’s recruiting class. Matt Bockhorst of Cincinnati, Ohio, was rated as a four-star guard, while Noah DeHond of Hightstown, New Jersey, and Blake Vinson of Citra, Florida, were rated as three-star tackles.
All three should get a shot to earn playing time, though Bockhorst is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in July. Vinson could have the best opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation, as he is already on campus as a midyear enrollee.
Chandler Reeves, Cade Stewart and Matthew Ryan will be eligible to play as redshirt freshmen after sitting out last season.
Hyatt and Crowder, both first-team All-ACC selections last year, are locks to retain their starting spots as the returning stars of Clemson’s offensive line.
Hearn started every game at left guard last season and performed well, but he could facecompetition from Simpson, a four-star recruit who impressed coaches in limited action as a freshman.
Pollard started the final seven games at right tackle. He appeared to be an upgrade over Jake Fruhmorgen, who left the program.
The only real question mark is at center, but Falcinelli is expected to take over that role. Cervenka and Giella are candidates to be the backup.