The 2020 Clemson football season will officially kick off tomorrow evening in Winston Salem.
This moment seemed like it would never get here and that we may never see players like Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne in a Clemson football uniform again. There were going to be players who would have to have their final memory in a Tigers uniform be of that walking off the Super Dome floor gutted after losing to LSU.
Thankfully, that is not what is happening and this program will have a chance to do it all over again.
Obviously, some things have changed. Guys like Chad Smith, A.J. Terrell, Isaiah Simmons, and a handful of others are gone. However, there are new faces on campus looking to make a name for themselves and old faces that have new opportunities in front of them – all with the goal of winning a national championship in January.
Here are five players we are excited to see when Clemson and Wake Forest kickoff Saturday evening.
Mike Jones Jr.
Mike Jones Jr. has the unenviable task of replacing 2019 unanimous All-American Isaiah Simmons. He was able to hold off 5-star Trent Simpson and will make his first start Saturday evening.
Replacing a legend is never easy, but the good news for Jones is that no one expects him to replicate what Simmons brought to the field. All Jones has to do it play to his strengths, help the Clemson defense set the tone early and everything else will take care of itself.
Andrew Booth Jr. & Mario Goodrich
Booth is listed along with Mario Goodrich as co-starters at corner. Regardless of who is on the field, you can be sure that opposing offensive coordinators are going to target and challenge both of them. Kendrick is one of the best shut down corners in the country which means Booth and Goodrich will see a lot of throws their way.
If these two can show early that they are to withstand the pressure opponents will put on them, this Clemson football defense will have a chance to be the nation’s best.
It is one thing to be the best player in the country but it is something completely different to have both Clemson football head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator Brent Venables singing your praises heading into week one.
That is something neither of them does very often.
Bresee is currently listed as a co-starter along with Nyles Pinkney and Jordan Williams. While he more than likely will not be the first defensive tackle run out there, he will play a lot Saturday evening and I believe eventually will take over as the sole starter next to Tyler Davis.
Like Mike Jones, Matt Bockhorst is stepping in for a Clemson football great. John Simpson is arguable the greatest offensive lineman that the Tigers have ever produced and Bockhorst has the job of replacing him.
Not only does he have this pressure on his shoulders but he is also part of four new starters up front who are seen as the biggest question mark on an offense that is expected to be one of the elites in the country.
Bockhorst has sounded very confident over the last couple of weeks. He and the rest of the offensive line will get quite the test from Wake Forest’s defensive line Saturday night and this Tigers offense will only go as far as this offensive line will take them.