Clemson falls outside top 10 in way-too-early CFP rankings

·2 min read

Despite having the fourth-best odds to win the 2023 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, Clemson hasn’t received the same preseason praise it has in years past.

In ESPN’s latest way-too-early CFP rankings, the Tigers were ranked outside the top 10 at No. 11, with teams like Notre Dame and N.C. State ahead of them.

Clemson heads into the 2022 season, losing key starters, such as wide receiver Justyn Ross, linebacker James Skalski and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. Still, Clemson adds promising players to its roster next season, namely five-star quarterback Cade Klubnik, who impressed in the spring game, and five-star cornerback Jeadyn Lukus.

Here’s what ESPN’s Mark Schlabach had to say about the Tigers heading into next season.

Spring update: Clemson has two new coordinators — Brandon Streeter on offense and Wes Goodwin on defense — and coach Dabo Swinney hopes the Tigers return to their old ways after slipping with three losses in 2021. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei shed about 25 pounds in the offseason after struggling in his first season as the full-time starter. Uiagalelei left spring practice atop the depth chart, but he might continue to be pushed by Klubnik, an early enrollee, who looked good over 15 practices. Clemson’s defensive line had its way in the spring game against a thin offensive line. [Adam] Randall, who was expected to help the wide receiver corps, might miss the season after suffering a torn ACL in his knee during the spring.

Finishing last season No. 19 in the CFP rankings, Clemson’s No. 11 spring ranking is fair considering the question marks surrounding the team.

Ultimately, Clemson’s defense looks to be solidified as a contender for the best unit in the country. However, Uiagalelei and the Tigers’ offense will need to elevate from last year’s pitfalls. As Schlabach mentioned, Klubnik has impressed the coaching staff this spring and, if Uiagalelei struggles, could take over as the team’s starting quarterback.

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