There's an overwhelming narrative surrounding the Clemson football team heading into the 2017 season — but don't bring up last year's team and all of the turnover with Tigers' head coach Dabo Swinney.
We seem light years removed from the memorable national championship victory back in January — and it's impossible to ignore the fact that the 2017 Tigers will look vastly different than the group who hoisted the coveted trophy 6 months ago.
On offense, staples from the last few years at Clemson like quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Wayne Gallman are all gone. On defense, there's no Cordrea Tankersly, Ben Boulware or Carlos Watkins.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney on his team not having a national title hangover. pic.twitter.com/DJSh9MiM5B
— Julian McWilliams (@JulianMack105) April 9, 2017
Those are a few of the big names that departed — but in all — Clemson will still return 12 starters and have a bevy of young players who can make an early impact.
I view Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney similar to the way I view Nick Saban at Alabama. Even with key losses, the Tigers will reload and make another run in the ACC. Swinney has earned that assumption — even if many in the college football community believe Clemson is poised for a major step back.
Swinney though? He's using it as motivation and believes there is a ton of underrated talent that will be unleashed on this year's squad.
"Everybody wants to keep talking about last year and what we don't have, but what I'm excited about is what we do have" Swinney said at last week's ACC Media Kickoff. "And we've got a football team that I think is committed, a football team that I think is focused, and a football team I think is hungry because we've got a lot of guys nobody talked about."
It's hard to get a true feel on this year's Clemson team — and it appears that's the way Swinney likes it. While there are unknowns at nearly every major position on the roster, I wouldn't be surprised if Clemson made another run at the College Football Playoff.