Eric Mac Lain
Let's start this one with a twitter conversation:
@ryan_kantor I would do everything in my power to make you 100% correct!— Eric Mac Lain (@mr_clemson) July 1, 2014
The left tackle position appears to be locked down by Isaiah Battle and center seems to be well managed by Ryan Norton. We've already discussed right tackle with our first X-factor, Joe Gore, so that leaves us with the guard positions. This X-factor selection, though listed as Eric Mac Lain, could really read "Clemson guards."
LG David Beasley is suspended from the Georgia game. On the other side at RG, Kalon Davis and Tyrone Crowder, both unproven, will battle for playing time. Eric Mac Lain is the other guard, and with a reasonable Fall camp, will likely start against UGA.
Eric Mac Lain is a RS junior who first joined Clemson as a four-star TE recruit out of Fayetteville, NC. The 247 Composite ranked him as the 6th best player out of the state in the class of 2011. After redshirting 2011, Mac Lain only played 48 snaps in 2012. Last year his work load increased as he played in all 13 games, getting 140 snaps.
Given the roster make-up and David Beasley's suspension, Clemson needs Mac Lain to come through and give them some depth on the line. Jay Guillermo who is currently listed as the back-up center could be forced to shift to guard as injuries, suspensions, or struggles necessitate, but with unproven players at RG and no other known back-up at center that won't solve all problems. Simply put, Clemson has to have at least two of the four guards (Mac Lain, Beasley, Crowder, Davis) excel to have enough depth to last an entire season. Eric Mac Lain, especially given the David Beasley suspension, has an opportunity to be one of those two.