It's been said that many college football players make the biggest jump in their development between their first and second seasons.
The Tigers 2020 recruiting class was filled with elite-level talent. Some of those players were able to make an immediate impact, while others needed a season to hone their craft.
As Clemson gets set to open spring practice in preparation for the 2021 season, there are a number of sophomore players who could be poised for breakout seasons:
1. D.J. Uiagalelei: Tops on the list is the obvious choice. Uiagalelei is poised to take over for outgoing quarterback Trevor Lawrence and is already being mentioned as a Heisman candidate. In two starts during his freshman campaign, Uiagalelei led the team to an 18-point comeback win at home over BC, then went on the road and threw for more than 400 yards in a double-overtime loss to Notre Dame. He will be one of the most-watched sophomores in the country next season.
2. Malcolm Greene: After playing just 58 snaps over the first eight games, Greene really started to find his footing in Brent Venables defense down the stretch of last season. Over the last four games, he logged 139 snaps, giving fans a glimpse at what can be expected in 2021. The rising sophomore should be a key member of a secondary that needs to find some consistency next season.
3. Kobe Pace: The running back from Georgia averaged more than 4 YPC in limited action during his freshman season. With Travis Etienne now having moved onto the NFL the Tigers will be looking to replace his production and at the very least Pace could be the guy the coaches look to in short-yardage situations.
4. Ruke Orhorhoro: Entering his third year in the program, Orhorhoro will technically be a redshirt sophomore and came to Clemson fairly raw. The defensive tackle has now had time to develop his skills and after an injury-plagued 2020 season, Orhorhoro could be ready to make his mark on the defensive front next season.
5. Walker Parks: After playing a reserve role as a freshman, it is widely assumed that Parks will move into a starting position at one of the tackle spots next season. Parks logged 199 snaps in 2020 and saw action in every game but one. When he was on the field, Parks showed that he is capable of bringing an aggressiveness that seemed to be lacking at times along Clemson's offensive line last season.