Clemson fans won’t have Malliciah Goodman to kick around anymore. Of course, Goodman teased the entire Clemson nation with what could have been with his performance in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl against LSU.
Goodman’s loss is significant, if for no other reason than the experience factor. But Goodman is the only loss along a defensive line that contains 7 players who saw at least 236 snaps in 2012 and developed nicely as the season wore on.
2012 sophomores Corey Crawford and Vic Beasley have the potential to be solid ends, with Beasley needing to add some weight hopefully without sacrificing speed.
In the interior sophomores Grady Jarrett, Josh Watson, DeShawn Williams, Tavaris Barnes and true freshman D.J. Reader all gained valuable experience as the season rolled along.
True freshman Carlos Watkins saw less action, only 113 snaps, but that’s more than 4 of those mentioned above saw in their freshman year.
The pipleine is not empty either. Not listed above are 2012 signees Martin Aiken and Shaq Lawson and multiple players that have pledged (but not yet signed) in the 2013 class.
This is a group that I expect significant improvement from in 2013 with 8 of 9 players that are expected to contribute returning, two 2012 signees and hopefully a couple of 2013 signees avoiding a redshirt.
As with the offensive line, injuries are going to happen. It’s not a question of if, but when and depth is critical.
A position that was seen as thin and weak in 2012, turns into an experienced and deep group in 2013, with just enough fresh blood to push the incumbents.