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Clemson Football

Clemson ranked No. 1 in multiple 2021 'Way-Too-Early' Polls

January 12, 2021

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The Tigers are expected to be right back in the mix for a trip to the College Football Playoff in 2021 as ESPN and CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd both has Clemson ranked No. 1 in their Way-Too-Early polls that came out today.

ESPN had Clemson just ahead of No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oklahoma, and No. 4 Georgia. The Tigers and Bulldogs are set to open against one another in Charlotte on September 4.


1. Clemson Tigers

2020 record: 10-2, 8-1 ACC
Projected returning starters: five offense, 10 defense, one special teams

Projected losses: QB Trevor Lawrence*, RB Travis Etienne*, WR Amari Rodgers*, CB Derion Kendrick, LB Baylon Spector, FS Nolan Turner, OT Jackson Carman*

Key additions: LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr., RB Will Shipley, DT Payton Page, WR Beaux Collins

Outlook: The Tigers' shortcomings were exposed in the CFP for the second season in a row, as they were pushed around on defense and couldn't protect Lawrence. This time, at least, those problems might be blamed on their youth and inexperience. A potential No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, Lawrence, as well as Etienne, will be remembered as one of the best players in school history. Rodgers on the perimeter is another big loss.

As for Dennis Dodd and CBS Sports, he had the Tigers No. 1 in his 2021 Power Poll ahead of No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Georgia, and No. 4 Alabama.

Here is what Dodd had to say about the No. 1 Tigers:

“We've gotten a glimpse of D.J. Uiagalelei, and that's enough. The quarterback's athleticism makes him perhaps more dangerous than Trevor Lawrence. Dabo Swinney loses Travis Etienne and some playmakers on defense, but the cupboard is always full at Clemson. Expect a seventh straight ACC title and fifth CFP National Championship in the last seven years. Aside from the opener against Georgia, Clemson's biggest challenge may be at NC State.”

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Clemson ranked No. 1 in multiple 2021 'Way-Too-Early' Polls

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