Looking Ahead: Five Seniors to Keep An Eye On
The 2020 Clemson seniors are 41-3 since 2017 and with a 15-0 season can become the winningest class in school history.
The Tigers are still a young team, but this will be an important senior class this season. While the Tigers will rely on freshmen, sophomores and juniors, these five seniors will try to end their careers on a high note:
James Skalski: Finished 2019 with 105 tackles (second on the team) including 7.5 for loss. He also had 4.5 sacks including one in the national championship game against LSU. He started every game last year along with seniors Isaiah Simmons and Chad Smith. With those two players gone, Skalski must step in to lead the group going forward.
Nolan Turner: The returning safety was a postseason hero last year with an interception against Virginia in the ACC championship game and the game-sealing interception against Ohio State in the College Football Playoff. Turner is another player that will be asked to step in after the departure of three seniors in the defensive backfield. Turner played in all 15 games but made only four starts. He finished last year with 66 tackles and 10 pass breakups.
Cade Stewart: Clemson lost a combined 127 starts along its offensive line, and returns just one starter (Jackson Carman) going into the 2020 season. Stewart finished last year with 335 snaps in 13 games, and is expected to be in the mix to be the starting center next season.
Justin Foster: An honorable mention All-ACC selection, he finished with 41 total tackles along with 10.5 tackles for loss. His seven career sacks are most among returning defensive players, and he was Clemson's most consistent pass rusher in last year's College Football Playoff. Like Xavier Thomas, Foster could flourish with a return to more of a 4-3 defensive scheme.
Travis Etienne: The two-time ACC Player of the Year is expected to be at the top of every major award list going into the 2020 season. He finished with 1,614 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns last year and became Clemson's career rushing leader. He just the ninth running back in ACC history to rush for over 4,000 yards in his career.