The forecast for the players below will be in a little different format. They’re all freshman and while I expect most of them to play to some extent, I didn’t forecast “bust” or “breakout” seasons, because I believe expectations are limited. I fully recognize that a sizeable portion of the Clemson fan base believes some (Watson, for example) will see significant playing time in 2014.
The analysis below is based on several assumptions, which you may or many not agree with, but it does provide a framework for the forecasts that follow.
Here are my assumptions:
- Cole Stoudt is and will be the starting quarterback barring injury.
- With 5 backs that will not redshirt (Howard, Brooks, Davidson, Gallman, Dye) and two of those being freshmen, the coaching staff will opt to redshirt Jae’lon Oglesby and Adam Choice given a choice (pun not intended). This not only provides an opportunity for these two to acclimate to the college game, but avoids having 4 freshmen backs at the same time thereby spreading out eligibility and recruiting needs in coming years. (more on this below)
- Trevion Thompson may play due to the relative thin wide receiver corps. Two of the three wide receiver positions only have two players listed and the only other two wide receivers listed on the roster are Daniel Rodriguez and Andrew Maas.
Five star players don’t enroll early to sit, but Watson was injured in the spring and sat out the spring game. That was a setback in Watson’s drive to start and it’s going to be difficult to overcome when the competition has 3 years in the offense.
Many fans and pundits believe Watson will start at some point in the season, if not in week 1 vs. Georgia. Others think Stoudt starts but Watson sees significant time and perhaps eventually takes over.
As my forecast for Stoudt indicated, I believe in Cole Stoudt more than that.
Watson takes over next year and before he’s done he challenges many of Tajh Boyd’s records (assuming 4 years).
2014 Outlook: 57.1 cmp% – 173 PY – 2 TDs/1 INT – 88 RY/2 TDs – 4 total TDs
Perhaps the 3rd player at the 9 wide receiver spot, Thompson has a chance to see the field in 2014, especially if he shows versatility. As documented above, two of the three wide receiver spots go only two deep and this provides an opportunity for Thompson who is listed at 6’2 and runs a 4.5.
2014 Outlook: 16 receptions, 167 yards, 1 TDs
Perhaps the most difficult running back to get a read on because of injuries he’s suffered since arriving at Clemson.
Dye has redshirted (back injury), but his subsequent Achilles injury makes him a huge question mark in 2014. With 3 experienced backs ahead of him along with fellow redshirt freshman Wayne Gallman, it’s going to be difficult for Dye to see the field for any extended amount of time.
2014 Outlook: 22 carries, 101 yards, 1 TD
Many expect Choice to lead Clemson in rushing this season (see poll on my website). I expect him to redshirt because of the sudden log jam at running back. If Choice plays, that would give Clemson 3 freshmen running backs and while that’s not impossible, my gut says it’s unlikely unless Choice has an incredible fall.
2014 Outlook: Redshirt
The home town favorite, I believe Oglesby redshirts, too for similar reasons as Choice. If I’m correct Clemson’s 2015 running back picture (assuming no losses) would look like this: Brooks (Sr.), Davidson (Sr.), Gallman (So.), Dye (So.), Choice (Fr.) and Oglesby (Fr.). Two seniors, two sophomores, two freshmen. This means that the future needs are more equally distributed and four running backs are not lost in the same season.
2014 Outlook: Redshirt