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Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Weak and strong: Clemson Tigers

By Andrea Adelson

Two teams left in our series looking at the strongest and weakest positions on each team in the ACC. Up today: Clemson.

Strongest position: Quarterback.

Tajh Boyd has become the face of this program and is getting some early preseason Heisman buzz. Expectations are high for Boyd to build on two already incredibly solid seasons with the Tigers. Last season, Boyd was the ACC Most Valuable Player after throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and accounting for 46 touchdowns rushing and passing -- one less than 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. Huge numbers, but many believe he can do more. Rather than shy away from the heightened expectations, Boyd has embraced them. He wants to be the best quarterback in America. To do that, he has to cut down on the turnovers and make better decisions, two big areas of focus this offseason. As for depth, Clemson does return backup Cole Stoudt, though the team took a big hit this spring when it lost Chad Kelly to a torn ACL.

Weakest position: Secondary.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has talked repeatedly about the state of his secondary. Clemson does return some experienced players, but the Tigers need to find some playmakers at the cornerback position. Depth also remains a concern, as the Tigers are going to have to rely on some true freshmen to contribute immediately. Having said that, safety Travis Blanks is a star in the making. He will start at safety this year and has the potential to be one of the better players at that position in the league. Others with experience include Bashaud Breeland, Garry Peters, Darius Robinson, Martin Jenkins and Robert Smith. Jenkins, Robinson and Breeland couldn't stay healthy a year ago; Peters has spent time in coach Dabo Swinney's doghouse. Hopes are high that highly heralded recruit Mackensie Alexander can be one of the young contributors.

For more on the series, click here.