Clemson, S.C.—Clemson has seven of the top 100 players in the nation regardless of position entering the 2016 season according to Sports Illustrated. Five of Clemson’s seven top 100 players are on offense, two more than any other school in the nation.
The Clemson players who were ranked in the top 100 included quarterback Deshaun Watson (6), linebacker Ben Boulware (23), running back Wayne Gallman (41), wide receiver Mike Williams (42), defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (49), tight end Jordan Leggett (92) and wide receiver Artavis Scott (98).
Seven schools had at least four players. Alabama had the most with nine, Clemson was second with seven, Florida State and Southern California had five apiece, while Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi had four apiece.
As far as the ACC is concerned, eight different schools were represented in the Sports Illustrated Top 100 and 18 total players were selected. Clemson and Florida State combined for 12 of the 18 players, including eight of the 12 offensive players.
Clemson returns eight starters from last year’s offense that gained an ACC record 7,718 yards. Clemson became the first ACC school in history with at least 4,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards rushing in the same season.
The Tigers actually have nine returning players who have been a starter over the course of a season on offense and eight of those have been named to one of the three All-ACC teams by the media or the coaches. In addition to the eight returning offensive starters from last year, Mike Williams returns at wide receiver after sitting out most of last year with a neck injury. He was an All-ACC player in 2014 when he had 1030 yards receiving.
Among Clemson’s returning starters on offense are Watson, a finalist for the 2015 Heisman Trophy and ACC Player of the Year, Gallman, first-team All-ACC selection who set a Clemson rushing record last year with 1527 yards, and tight end Jordan Leggett, a second team All-American, who was a finalist for the Mackey Award. Scott has been named first-team All-ACC each of the last two seasons at wide receiver.
Offensive linemen Jay Guillermo, Mitch Hyatt and Tyrone Crowder all made All-ACC teams in 2015.
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