This is the list of the top 10 + 2 of the best players for Clemson in 2012. This list is in no particular order. The common theme here is most all these guys are system guys developed by Clemson's staff.
Tajh Boyd took the leadership role at Clemson in 2013 being the face of the program.
1- Quarterback Tajh Boyd
The leader of the Clemson Tigers football team. He announced his return for his senior season last week. 2013 Can be a special season for Clemson and it starts with Tajh Boyd’s leadership.
Can he top his 2012 numbers? 287/427, 3896 yards, 36 TD’s and 13 INT’s
2- Wide receiver Deandre Hopkins
Nuk had a monster year 82 catches, 1405 yards and 18 TD’s. Nuk commanded attention by opposing defenses. After Nuk had 13 receptions against LSU's touted secondary there was little doubt how he could take over a game whenever the ball came his way.
3- Running back Andre Ellington
Ellington finished the year with 211 rushes, 1081 yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 14 receptions 232 yards and 1 TD. Finishing the season without injury Ellington's confidence brought stability to the Tiger's backfield. Big shoes to fill with #23 gone.
4- Wide receiver Sammy Watkins
Nuk Hopkins racked up over 1400 yards receiving in 2012 and 18 touchdowns.
The elite talented Watkins had the sophomore slump in 2012. Having said that he still had 57 catches, 708 yards and 2 TD’s. He also was 1/2, 52 yards and a TD passing.
For the 2013 season Clemson needs Watkins to have a year like DeAndre Hopkins did this year.
Watkins is capable of crushing Hopkins numbers and I think we all know it. The doubters are whispering. Count me out I think Watkins has the kind of year that a #1 wide receiver in the NFL draft would have his last year in college. Book it.
5- Defensive end Vic Beasley
Here’s a guy who played 288 snaps in 13 games and finished in the top 5 in sacks in the ACC with 8. He averaged 22 snaps a game and is by far the most disruptive pass rusher on Clemson’s defensive line.
Mark this down; Beasley will blow the numbers he had this year out of the water in 2013. When I asked Dabo about Beasley he called him a “creature’ referring to his physical nature and gym rat tendencies.
5- Running back Roderick McDowell
Coming down the stretch of the 2012 season Hot Rod played well and provided quality runs in relief of Andre Ellington.
Andre Ellington and Dalton Freeman's cool hand confidence will be missed as they head to the NFL.
After the Chick-Fil-A Bowl you have to put Hot Rod as Clemson's feature back going in to spring and fall camp.
6-Linebacker Spencer Shuey
Stephone Anthony started the 2012 season as the starter at mike linebacker. People would have laughed at you if you told them Spencer Shuey would lock down the mike linebacker spot by mid season and be the spark for the Clemson defense.
7- Safety Travis Blanks[/]
The true freshman played nickel back this season out of necessity. Blanks had a a great freshman year and now is cross trained in the secondary. In 2013 Blanks moves back to his natural position at safety. Look for big things from Blanks.
[b]8- Center Dalton Freeman
Freeman earned All American honors in his senior year at Clemson. Freeman was the quarterback of the offensive line. New starter Ryan Norton has big shoes to fill in the leadership department taking over for Freeman as he heads to the NFL.
9- Tight end Brandon Ford
Vic Beasley averaged 22 snaps a game and finished in the ACC's top 5 in sacks.
Ford came in to fall camp and blew everyone away weighing in at 240 lbs. This proved vital as the season wore. Ford had 40 catches, 480 yards 8 TD"s and 7 catches of over 20 yards including a 69 yard reception.
Ford is a product of hard work and development from Clemson's coaching staff. Ford came in as a wide receiver and leaves as a tight end who'll be picked in the NFL draft. Yet another example of fitting the guy to your system.
10- Place kicker Chandler Catanzaro
Catman came in as a walk on at a time when Clemson was struggling at kicking field goals. Now Catman has turned this in to a strength for Clemson finishing 18/19 this year. Oh, and he hit a field goal as time expired to beat an exhausted LSU.
Credit head coach Dabo Swinney for taking a chance on a walk on, developing him and seeing it through. Catman is another success story for Clemson's coaching staff.
Defensive tackle Josh Watson No one knew what to expect out of John Watson if anything. Quietly Watson was very disruptive in the run game and pass rush. Watson logged 461 snaps, 54 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.
Offensive lineman Tyler Shatley Some of you say "who?" Shatley was moved from the defensive line to the offensive line for 2012. Boy did that pay dividends and in 2013 it will too. Shatley is one of the toughest sob's you'll ever run across and strong as an ox.
Catman finished the year beating LSU on a last second field goal.
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