Football is back. The Clemson Tigers will begin their quest to make the College Football Playoffs for the fourth straight year with their spring football game on April 14.
While most of the starting roles are already defined on defense, questions still remain on the Tigers offense. The spring game could go a long way to answering those concerns.
Find game time, information and a preview for the game below:
Clemson Tigers spring football date, game time
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, April 14
Location: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, South Carolina
What TV channel is the Clemson Tigers spring football game on?
The Clemson spring football game will air on ESPN.
How can I watch the Clemson Tigers spring football game online?
The Clemson spring football game will be streaming on WatchESPN.
Clemson Tigers spring football game preview
The Tigers will head into the 2018 season as heavy favorites to once again represent the Atlantic division in the ACC championship game the first weekend of December. They are also expected to make the College Football Playoffs for a fourth straight season. Alabama is the only other team that has accomplished that feat.
Who Clemson has coming back on defense is the biggest reason why the Tigers are such heavy favorites to win the Atlantic. With defensive tackle Christian Wilkins announcing in January his plan to return to school, Clemson will welcome back eight starters from its elite defense, which finished second in points allowed and fourth in yards yielded in 2017.
Six of those eight returning starters on defense are in the front-seven, which led the country with 46.0 sacks last season. The vaunted Tigers defensive line will return entirely intact, and that unit alone accounted for 31.0 sacks in 2017.
With so much talent, the front-seven will certainly be something to watch in the Clemson spring football game, but the position battles are in the secondary. That unit will find its leadership from cornerback Trayvon Mullen, who recorded 57 tackles, 3 interceptions and 8 pass breakups last season.
But as it usually does, quarterback will receive the most attention during the Clemson spring game. Incumbent starter Kelly Bryant is back after losing just two games last season, but 5-star incoming freshman Trevor Lawrence is expected to push him for the starting role all summer.
Bryant completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,808 yards, 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions last season. He also gave the Tigers a dual-threat in the backfield, posting 665 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground.
But in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, Clemson couldn’t run against the Crimson Tide front, and Bryant wasn’t able to pass the ball downfield well enough to loosen up the Alabama defense. Because of that, there are questions about whether Bryant can lead the Tigers to victories against the top run defense in the country.
Lawrence might not be ready to start Week 1 this fall, but he’s expected to be a great passer in his college career. The incoming recruit was not only the top pro-styled quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class, he was the top-rated overall recruit in the entire class according to 247Sports. His first snaps and throws in a game-type atmosphere are one of the biggest things to watch in any spring game this month.
If Lawrence excels, he has a strong chance of becoming the Clemson starting quarterback. But at the same time, the Tigers have championship aspirations again in 2018, and handing over the reigns of an offense to a freshman could be risky.
Despite a preseason rank in the Top 5 last summer, Clemson surprised some people with its 12-2 finish. In 2017, the Tigers finished higher than their preseason rank in the AP Poll for the seventh straight season.
That’s going to be hard to do in 2018, as most expect the Tigers to be ranked No. 1 during the 2018 preseason.