3 offseason questions Tigers need to answer

James Skalski, Clemson Tigers

James Skalski, Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The Clemson football team has to bounce back after a down season for the Tigers program.

After its worst season in the better part of a decade, Dabo Swinney and the rest of the Clemson football program have to face all of their offseason challenges head-on to set the tone for 2022.

For the first time since 2014, Clemson failed to win the ACC and reach the College Football Playoff. The Tigers still had a decent year, but playing the Iowa State Cyclones in the Cheez-It Bowl again is not going to cut it. While other programs in the ACC look promising (Miami, NC State, Wake Forest, etc.), Clemson should be the best team in its Power Five conference if the Tigers can play up to par.

Here are three offseason questions the Tigers have to answer if they want to make the playoff.

Clemson football: 3 offseason questions the Tigers will have to answer

3. Who steps up and fills the James Skalski leadership role on defense?

Without question, this is the most critical offseason for Clemson in quite some time. Not only is the world changing with newfangled gizmos such as NIL and the transfer portal, but Clemson has to replace some key men on its football team. One player who is going to be incredibly difficult to replace is linebacker James Skalski. His leadership was a such huge part of this team’s run of late.

With guys like Jake Venables, Kane Patterson and Baylor Spector all gone from the program as well, look for Trenton Simpson to answer the bell in the middle of this Clemson defense. While the Tigers should be more talented than most of their ACC counterparts, it is going to be hard for Clemson to hold its own against the better teams across the Power Five without a great defense.

Filling Skalski’s role on the defense will not be easy, but Simpson is their best option at this time.

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