As a redshirt sophomore a season ago, running back Wayne Gallman ran for 1,527 yards, which is a single season record at Clemson. He was named second team All-ACC for his efforts: 13 rushing touchdowns, 109.1 yards per game. Deshaun Watson put together one of the most prolific seasons in the history of college football; he became the first player to throw for more than 4,000 yards and run for more 1,000 yards in the same season. Watson’s 1,105 yards on the ground were good for 10th most in school history.
Within the same 15-game sample, Clemson’s offensive line helped produce two of arguably the ten best individual rushing season’s in Clemson’s history. These accomplishments are quite impressive, especially when you consider that the offensive line of the Tigers was viewed as a potential weak spot heading into 2015.
The Tigers had to replace two veteran starters from that productive unit: left guard Eric Mac Lain and right tackle Joe Gore. Mac Lain was the unquestioned leader of last season’s group, and he was named All-ACC for his efforts. Everyone knew that Mac Lain would be missed, but despite having to replace 40 percent of their starting five along the line, most pundits thought highly of Clemson’s line prior to the start of the 2016 season — some even projected them as the best line in America.
Jake Fruhmorgen — a four-star recruit who played in 11 games last season — was expected to absorb Gore’s snaps at tackle, while Taylor Hearn would be plugged in at guard. The initial transition hasn’t gone as smoothly as supporters of the Tigers would’ve hoped, but after a somewhat sluggish start to this year’s campaign, though, it looks like the Tigers front five are starting to round into form.
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