Each week, I'm going to be handing out helmet stickers for good performances, and the "head scratchers" those guys who have left us scratching our heads in disbelief or disappoinment.
DeAndre Hopkins is on fire this season. Helmet sticker for Nuk.
It may be individual players, an entire unit, or even members of the coaching staff, based on what I saw on the field the previous Saturday.
Since this is a bye week, I thought we'd cover the entire first half of the season in the first post, and then hand out or scratch our heads for each individual game as the season continues.
1- DeAndre 'Nuk' Hopkins
When I talked to Coach Swinney during the offseason, he said Sammy Watkins would obviously get all of the preseason attention from media and fans, but he thought Nuk Hopkins would be the team's most dynamic receiver this year. Clearly, he was right!
Hopkins leads the nation in receiving yards (777 through six games) and has 8 receiving TDs as well. Hopkins is 8th in the nation in receptions and 5th in receiving yards.
He's caught at least one touchdown pass in five of the six games played so far in 2012. Along the way he has broken the single game record for receptions and yards at Clemson.
And, because Watkins has missed multiple games this season, Hopkins has accomplished all of this despite being the main focus of opposing defensive backfields.
Dalton Freeman's experience anchors the offensive line for Chad Morris.
2- The Offensive Line
If there was one question mark for the Tigers offense entering the season it was the offensive line. The group lacked experience, chemistry, and some fans even questioned the unit's talent level.
This group has come up big, both in the running game and in pass protection. Their strength off the ball is the big reason that Clemson's running game is averaging 4.6 yards per carry so far this season.
The unit's quickness and ability to maintain a block on the pass rush has also been evident, as Tajh Boyd has only been sacked 7 times in 6 games.
Andre Ellington, Boyd, and Hopkins are among ACC leaders in several statistical categories, and their offensive linemen deserves a lot of the credit. The entire O-Line gets a helmet sticker!
He gets a helmet sticker because he has filled a huge gap for the Tigers defense. Everyone knew that Malliciah Goodman was going to start at one defensive end position, but many questioned who would be the other book end of the D-Line.
Crawford has stepped up his game, and although he hasn't been a dominant force, he has provided some solid play at his position.
He has 2.5 tackles-for-loss, 3 quarterback pressures, and has broken up one pass so far this season. Expect to see those numbers increase if he continues to play as well as he has been recently.
Tomorrow we'll have the Clemson midseason head scratchers.
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