CLEMSON — Clemson enters the 2021 season with one of the most talented rosters in college football. Everyone should expect the Tigers to have players named on a breakout list.
On Tuesday, PFF’s Anthony Treash published his top 25 breakout candidates for the 2021 college football season, and five Clemson players made an appearance, including four in the top 15. The football website that specializes in grading players and diving into advanced stats is high on some individuals that will play a prominent role for Clemson this fall.
Dabo Swinney will rely heavily on these five players to make an impact.
1. D.J. Uiagalelei
The sophomore quarterback out of California is at the top of PFF’s list. Uiagalelei exceeded expectations in two starts as a true freshman. Now many are expecting him to be one of the premier quarterbacks in college football this season.
“He earned an 83.6 passing grade, making five big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays in those two games against Boston College and Notre Dame,” writes Treash. “And Uiagalelei also showed that he has a rocket launcher for an arm. Both of those outings were among the team’s three most efficient passing performances of the 2020 season.”
Uiagalelei is receiving some Heisman Trophy buzz and it is very easy to understand why.
11. Bryan Bresee
Checking in at No. 11 overall, Bresee returns for his sophomore season after playing over 400 snaps as a true freshman in 2020. As a rookie, the former five-star recruit finished the year with 33 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks. PFF likes his potential as a pass rusher and believes that the sophomore can be a game wrecker when attacking the passer.
“He posted an 81.2 pass-rushing grade and a 14.1% pass-rush win rate, both of which ranked sixth or better among Power Five interior defensive linemen.”
12. Myles Murphy
At the very next spot, Murphy checks in at No. 12 overall. He’s another member of Clemson’s 2020 recruiting class who the Tigers expect big things from. Last year, the Metro Atlanta native recorded 51 tackles and 12 tackles for loss, while forcing three fumbles. PFF writes that Murphy is a dominant run support player while having potential as a pass rusher.
The 275-pound sophomore could be the most dominant player on Clemson’s team this fall.
14. Andrew Booth Jr.
Also in the top-15, the former five-star recruit is another Metro Atlanta native who seems to be poised for a big season. Booth started just four games last fall but is building up plenty of hype this offseason thanks to some elite ball skills.
The junior cornerback has a propensity for one-handed interceptions while consistently winning in the vertical passing game, according to PFF. The cornerback is on plenty of draft boards and has high expectations to meet in 2021.
25. Joseph Ngata
Rounding out the list is the junior receiver who struggled with injuries last fall. Ngata was a major recruiting win for Clemson out of California who has recorded 24 receptions and scored three touchdowns in his first two seasons on campus. After an impressive spring, Ngata could turn into the program’s next great outside receiver.
Per PFF, Ngata has consistently beat press coverage in his career and can be a dependable vertical threat. Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is leaning on the 6-foot-3 receiver to be a playmaker for the offense.