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2015 Clemson Football Participation: Offensive Line

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As in previous years we are taking a look at the snap counts of each position for Clemson football. Rather than starts, number of snaps is a good indicator of true experience. All of the numbers used in this are through the Orange Bowl, they do not include the national championship game. These snap totals also only include snaps on offense or defense, special teams participation is not counted. Players in bold will not be returning for 2016.

2016 was finally the year Clemson got an OL. After years of complaints about poor recruiting and poor development, the OL became a source of strength for Clemson and is a big reason why the Tigers were 10 minutes away from a national championship. The OL allowed Clemson to finally call a power running game between the A gaps that led to a dynamic offense that could beat teams in a variety of ways. Add in the ability of Deshaun Watson and it was no wonder  we got spoiled.

Player Year Position Wofford App State Louisville Notre Dame Georgia Tech Boston College Miami NC State FSU Syracuse Wake South Carolina UNC Oklahoma Total Snaps
William Cockerill Senior OL 7 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 15
Tyrone Crowder R Sophomore OL 35 59 68 65 56 62 47 78 2 0 0 54 62 89 677
Justin Falcinelli R Freshman OL 38 17 0 2 20 2 33 0 0 0 7 0 0 4 123
Jake Fruhmorgen Freshman OL 28 18 5 0 35 3 46 0 0 15 44 20 9 17 240
Joe Gore R Graduate OL 44 57 60 65 43 77 44 80 86 84 33 54 89 75 891
Jay Guillermo R Junior OL 40 50 71 65 61 78 58 80 86 88 72 70 98 90 1007
Taylor Hearn R Freshman OL 28 17 0 3 24 14 43 0 0 0 19 12 7 13 180
Mitch Hyatt Freshman OL 49 58 71 65 54 66 53 80 86 79 72 62 91 78 964
Eric MacLain R Graduate OL 43 58 71 60 67 76 54 80 86 88 68 74 98 88 1011
Maverick Morris R Sophomore OL 35 17 7 0 21 25 41 2 84 74 64 20 36 3 429
Ryan Norton R Graduate OL 25 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 28 4 0 6 102
Zach Riggs R Sophomore OL 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 17
Daniel Stone Senior OL 7 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 15
Harris Tucker R Senior OL 7 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 15

OL is different from DL because although you want to have high numbers, your starters usually play the majority of a game barring injury or a blowout. Because of this you usually see 5 OL with a snap count nearing 1000 and then several other guys getting into the 200-300 range for snaps. Because of an injury to Tyrone Crowder, Maverick Morris and Jake Fruhmorgen were able to pick up some additional snaps beyond just backup duty time.

Honestly as much as it can hurt to lose a starting OL to injury, that experience can really pay off in the future. Most OLs tend to have turnover of at least 1-2 players each year, and getting quality replacements can be hard. We've talked at length about how difficult lineman can be to project and develop, so that experience can give coaches a much better idea of the OL situation.

For 2016 Clemson will have to replace Joe Gore and Eric McClain, but they have several candidates to do so, but the big surprise is probably Taylor Hearn at LG. He has a little bit of experience as a backup, but he's going to be the guy heading into fall camp. Fruhmorgen is still developing and while he will provide some backup snaps, he doesn't seem quite ready to make the step to a starter. Then depending on how fall camp goes there are several options for the 5th starter at OL with some quality depth. We've also heard some good things about the freshman already on campus. Couple this with a good start to the class of 2017 recruiting and things are looking much better for Clemson along the OL than they were 2-3 years ago.