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Clemson moves up one spot in PFF’s updated way-too-early Top 25

Clemson’s football season in 2023 had its moments, including a thrilling 38-35 win over Kentucky in the Gator Bowl. But despite finishing with a 9-4 record and going 4-4 in the ACC, both the team and its fans wanted more. As the season ended, everyone started talking about what changes might come in 2024, wondering how Clemson’s lineup and performance might shape up.

Opinions are varying drastically on how the Tigers will perform in 2024, with some seeing the Tigers as the top contender in the ACC while others expect another down year for the program. PFF recently updated their way-too-early 2024 rankings, with Clemson moving up one spot to No. 12. One of the higher rankings we’ve seen for the Tigers.

Clemson’s defense carried them in 2023, tying for second in the nation in overall grade and placing third in expected points allowed per play. That side of the ball should remain elite next year. Four true freshmen on the Tigers’ defense earned 75-plus grades this year on at least 300 snaps: interior defensive lineman Peter Woods, safety Khalil Barnes, cornerback Avieon Terrell and edge defender T.J. Parker. Barrett Carter also announced his return for his senior season despite being projected as one of the top linebacker prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The question is whether the offense can keep up. Despite the hype on that side of the ball with the partnership of Broyles Award-winning offensive coordinator Garrett Riley and five-star quarterback Cade Klubnik, Clemson still tied for 89th in the FBS in offensive grade. They’ll need to make serious strides in Year 2 to win the ACC and secure a spot in the 12-team playoff.

As with almost everyone’s assessment, this season comes down to offense. Garrett Riley and Cade Klubnik have all eyes on them and if they can recover from a tough first year for both of them, Clemson will be in a good spot.

The Tigers’ potential is there, but execution also needs to be.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire