Clemson will rely on several seniors in 2018 and as many as 12 could be starters this season.
Here is a look at five seniors that have something to prove this football season.
Offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt – The Georgia native arrived at Clemson as a five-star prospect and earned the starting left tackle job as a freshman. It appeared as though Hyatt would be a three-year starter before being a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, but he had an inconsistent junior season and earned a third-round grade for the NFL draft. Hyatt decided to come back to school to try to help the Tigers to a national title and improve his draft stock.
Wide receiver Trevion Thompson – The coaching staff has mentioned Trevion Thompson as an underrated player who could have a breakout season for the past few years, but entering his redshirt senior season Thompson has combined for only 32 receptions in his career. Thompson impressed Clemson’s coaching staff this spring and has one final opportunity to play a big role in Clemson’s offense.
Quarterback Kelly Bryant – Even after leading Clemson to the College Football Playoff in his first year as a starter, Bryant still has plenty of doubters. The former Wren star struggled with his accuracy at times in 2017 and now must beat out freshman Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall recruit for the class of 2018.
Defensive lineman Albert Huggins – The consensus No. 1 player in the state of South Carolina for the class of 2015, Huggins has been a contributor every year for the Tigers but has yet to put together a breakout season. Clemson returns four All-Americans on its defensive front meaning Huggins will likely be a backup again. Still, he has his sights set on earning a starting job or at least playing a starters' number of snaps as a critical backup.
Defensive back Mark Fields – The talented cornerback has yet to put it all together during his time at Clemson. Fields was one of the top DBs in the country when he signed with the Tigers out of Charlotte, but he has been mostly a backup in his career up until this point. Fields started four games in 2017 and was hampered by injuries. Now healthy, he is aiming to earn a starting job and to have a breakout season.
Clemson 2018 football schedule
(HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS)
Sept. 1 FURMAN, 12:20 pm (ACC Network)
Sept. 8 at Texas A&M, 7 pm (ESPN)
Sept. 15 GEORGIA SOUTHERN, 3:30 pm (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU)
Sept. 22 at Georgia Tech
Sept. 29 SYRACUSE
Oct. 6 at Wake Forest
Oct. 20 NC STATE
Oct. 27 at Florida State
Nov. 3 LOUISVILLE
Nov. 10 at Boston College
Nov. 17 DUKE
Nov. 24 SOUTH CAROLINA