Clemson, S,C.—Four Clemson players are ranked among the top 50 returning players for the 2017 college football season according to the ESPN “Experts.”
Clemson and Washington have the most players on the list with four apiece. Alabama and Oklahoma have three apiece.
Clemson is the only school in the nation with two of the top 10 players. Christian Wilkins is the highest ranked Clemson player with a No. 8 rating. A junior in 2017, Wilkins was a first-team All-American as a sophomore defensive end. He had a team best 13.5 tackles for loss and 10 passes broken up, an all-time record for a Clemson defensive lineman.
Just two spots below Wilkins is Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. As a freshman in 2016, Lawrence led the defensive line in tackles and had seven sacks, tied for the most by a Clemson freshman. Lawrence was a unanimous freshman All-American in 2016.
Clemson offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt is ranked as the No. 30 overall player in the nation for 2017. Hyatt has started 29 of Clemson’s 30 games over the last two years. He was a third-team All-ACC selection in 2015 as a freshman and a first-team choice in 2016.
Receiver Deon Cain is ranked No. 47 on the ESPN list of top 50 players for 2017. As a sophomore last year he had nine touchdown catches, second on the team behind Mike Williams, who had 11. Cain ranked 19th in the nation in yards per reception as well.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is ranked as the No. 1 player in the nation for 2017 by ESPN. He is one of six players on the list who will play against Clemson in 2017. The others are Derwin James of Florida State (6), Bradley Chubb of NC State (22), Harold Landry of Boston College (23), Deondre Francois of Florida State (29), and Braden Smith of Auburn (50).
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