1. TAJH BOYD
QB, Senior, 6-1/225
He has prospered in the Tigers offensive scheme. He could be on target for a very special 2013 season. His leadership and resiliency serve him well at a challenging position.
2. SAMMY WATKINS
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WR, Junior, 6-1/205
With DeAndre Hopkins (82 catches, 1,405 yards, 18 TDs) gone to the pros there’s every reason to expect Watkins to be the featured receiver in the Tigers’ wide-open offense. Clemson’s other receivers need to produce enough to keep opponents from putting double-coverage on Watkins on a consistent basis. He also has big-play ability in the return game.
3. VIC BEASLEY
DE, Junior, 6-2/225
He worked at tight end and linebacker earlier in his career before he found a home on the defensive front. Beasley didn’t start a game last season, but led the Tigers with eight quarterback sacks. He steps into the lineup for departed standout Malliciah Goodman
4. TRAVIS BLANKS
S, Sophomore, 6-1/180
He worked his way up the depth chart quickly as a freshman, starting in Week 2 and playing a regular role when the Tigers used a five-back set in the secondary. Blanks can keep pace with opposing receivers – he broke up seven passes in 2012 – and moves to safety this season.
5. STEPHONE ANTHONY
MLB, Junior, 6-3/235
He started the first six games last season at middle linebacker, but got just one start – at an outside spot – over the final seven games. He’s slated to anchor the middle of the defense and be like a coach on the field with his intelligence and leadership ability.
6. CHANDLER CATANZARO
PK, Senior, 6-2/195
He’s dependable (18-for-19 on field goals and 55-for-57 on PATS last season) and can deliver in clutch situations. He kicked the winning field goal against LSU as time expired in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Catanzaro is a good weapon to have late in a tight game.
7. ADAM HUMPHRIES
WR, Junior, 5-11/190
He caught 41 passes – third most on the team last season – despite getting just three starts. He caught a career-high eight passes against LSU. Humphries can play all three receiver positions and serve as a punt returner if needed.
8. RODERICK MCDOWELL
RB, Senior, 5-9/195
He is the favorite to step in for departed 1,081-yard rusher Andre Ellington. McDowell rushed for 450 yards and five touchdowns as a reserve in 2012. He can slide out of the backfield and serve as a safety valve on pass plays, too.
9. STANTON SECKINGER
TE, Sophomore, 6-4/210
It’s not a high-visibility position like wide receiver, but tight ends play a crucial role in the Clemson offense. Brandon Ford caught 40 passes this past season. An injury to Sam Cooper has opened a door for Seckinger, who has good hands.
10. BRANDON THOMAS
OT, Senior, 6-3/305
He can play either tackle or guard, and could move inside if Isaiah Battle develops at the tackle spot. Thomas played more than any other Tiger in 2012 and he’s again expected to be an anchor of an offensive line charged with giving plays enough time to develop.
Compiled by Rudy Jones, Special to The State