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
|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|
|WR||Hunter Renfrow||Hunter Renfrow|
|Trevion Thompson||Trevion Thompson|
|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|
|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|
|CB||Marcus Edmond||Ryan Carter|
|Mark Fields||Mark Fields|
|S||Jadar Johnson||Jadar Johnson|
|Ryan Carter||Denzel Johnson|
|S||Van Smith||Van Smith|
|Tanner Muse||Tanner Muse|
|Korrin Wiggins||Korrin Wiggins|
|CB||Cordrea Tankersley||Cordrea Tankersley|
|Ryan Carter||Ryan Carter|
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.