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Projecting Clemson’s Spring Depth Chart to the 2017 Season

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NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson released the spring depth chart yesterday and there were a few bits to pick out, but not too much that was surprising. In fact the biggest surprise may have been the names that were missing from the depth chart such as Xavier Kelly and Jamie Skalski. But on some level the spring depth chart is meaningless. There are no games this month, or next. All this depth chart does is give a glimpse into what the coaches are thinking right now.

That said, it is worth looking at depth charts from previous years to see what if any changes we might see before the season opens this year. The table below is a comparison between the 2016 spring depth chart and the 2016 depth chart for the Auburn game.

2016 Depth Chart Comparison

Position Post Spring Auburn
Position Post Spring Auburn
LT Mitch Hyatt Mitch Hyatt
Tremayne Anchrum Tremayne Anchrum
LG Taylor Hearn Taylor Hearn
Maverick Morris John Simpson
C Jay Guillermo Jay Guillermo
Justin Falcinellli Justin Falcinellli
RG Tyrone Crowder Tyrone Crowder
Maverick Morris Maverick Morris
RT Jake Fruhmorgen Jake Fruhmorgen
Sean Pollard Sean Pollard
TE Jordan Leggett Jordan Leggett
Garrett Williams Garrett Williams
Milan Richard Milan Richard
WR Mike Williams Mike Williams
Deon Cain Deon Cain
QB Deshaun Watson Deshaun Watson
Nick Schuessler Nick Schuessler
Kelly Bryant Kelly Bryant
RB Wayne Gallman Wayne Gallman
Adam Choice Adam Choice
Tyshon Dye Tyshon Dye
C.J. Fuller
WR Hunter Renfrow Hunter Renfrow
Trevion Thompson Trevion Thompson
Seth Ryan
WR Artavis Scott Artavis Scott
Ray-Ray McCloud Ray-Ray McCloud
DE Austin Bryant Richard Yeargin
Chris Register Christian Wilkins
DT Carlos Watkins Carlos Watkins
Albert Huggins Dexter Lawrence
DT Christian Wilkins Christian Wilkins
Scott Pagano Scott Pagano
Jabril Robinson Albert Huggins
DE Clelin Ferrell Clelin Ferrell
Richard Yeargin Chris Register
Jabril Robinson
SLB Dorian O'Daniel Dorian O'Daniel
Jalen Williams Jalen Williams
MLB Kendall Joseph Kendall Joseph
Tre Lamar Tre Lamar
WLB Ben Boulware Ben Boulware
J.D. Davis
Shaq Smith
CB Marcus Edmond Ryan Carter
Mark Fields Mark Fields
Marcus Edmond
Trayvon Mullen
S Jadar Johnson Jadar Johnson
Ryan Carter Denzel Johnson
Denzel Johnson
S Van Smith Van Smith
Tanner Muse Tanner Muse
Korrin Wiggins Korrin Wiggins
CB Cordrea Tankersley Cordrea Tankersley
Ryan Carter Ryan Carter
Mark Fields

As you can see, nothing changed on the OL. Some of that is because the starting positions were secure going into the 2016 season and the backups were sort of pencilled in. But even when looking at the Clemson - Alabama depth chart for the national championship the only real change was because Jake Fruhmorgen left the team. For 2017 we’ve talked about the concern at center. While we could see a switch it may take a lot for Cervenka to supplant Falcinellli.

The defensive line also saw a lot of shuffling last year. Though to be fair that was mainly because of the injury to Austin Bryant. The move of Christian Wilkins to DE threw everything out of whack, especially when the coaching staff decided to list him in the depth chart at DT as well.

Going to the backfield, this is probably the only spot we see real movement from fall camp. Ryan Carter was not listed as a starter in the spring depth chart, but by the Auburn game he had worked his way into a starting role because Marcus Edmond was limited in fall camp by a hamstring injury.

Looking at 2016 it seems like we could just assume the depth chart to open the season is going to be a lot like the current depth chart. But a word of caution against that. The 2016 Clemson team had a lot of natural replacements for departing players or established starters. That leads to stability and a lack of competition.

Also worth noting that even in 2016 guys like J.D. Davis and Seth Ryan were on the spring depth chart. But come the regular season they weren’t found. Some of the guys on the depth chart are listed as a motivation or recognition tactic. They may not be there once the season starts, and their current position may not mean much.

Finally even in the Auburn depth chart it is surprising how few true freshman are on the depth chart. Dexter Lawrence was listed along with Trayvon Mullen, but no one else. Clemson certainly has some talent coming in, and it seems likely Hunter Johnson will definitely be in the 2 deep, but don’t expect a lot of the incoming recruits to start the season on the depth chart.