A First Look at Clemson
By Rob Ogden
During Wednesday's Orange Bowl press conference, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer called Clemson's offense one of the best in America and said the Tigers pose "probably the biggest challenge we've had all year."
The Tigers rank 12th in the nation with 40.2 points per game and 12th in passing yards with 329.3 yards per game. Their defense isn't bad either, allowing 21.1 points per game.
Leading the offense is senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, who could have just as easily been on the other side of this game.
The fifth-year senior was once seen as a sure-fire Ohio State commit, but surprised everyone and pledged to Clemson.
"Yeah, we was (almost a Buckeye)," Clemson coach Dabo Swanney said Wednesday. "I had Jim Tressel in (Boyd's) front yard and (Oregon coach Mike) Bellotti on the back porch."
Boyd has thrown for more than 11,500 yards and 102 touchdowns during his time at Clemson, and has 3,473 passing yards and 29 scores this season. He has a completion percentage of 67.6.
Boyd has added 273 yards and touchdowns on the the ground in 2013. He was named second-team All-ACC.
Boyd's top weapon, and probably Clemson's most talented player, is junior receiver Sammy Watkins.
Watkins — considered by many to be the best draft-eligible receiver in college football — leads the ACC with 1,237 receiving yards and has 10 receiving touchdowns. He averages 103.1 receiving yards per game.
With 85 receptions, the 6-foot-1 Watkins was named first-team All-ACC. He's one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nations' most outstanding receiver.
Watkins is the most prominent member of Boyd's supporting cast, which Meyer said "might be the best in the country."
On defense, Tigers' junior defensive end Vic Beasly is the player to watch.
Beasly ranks third in the nation with 12 sacks and seventh with 1.6 tackles for loss per game.
The 6-foot-3, 225 point lineman is a first-team All-ACC selection and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, given annually to the nation's most outstanding defensive end.
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