CHARLOTTE, NC. – Fresh off their sixth consecutive College Football Playoff appearance, Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney understands that there’s a new era dawning for his program.
Former quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s illustrious career at Clemson came to an untimely end in the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State and sophomore quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei will take the reins of the Tiger offense. Tony Elliott returns as offensive coordinator, despite being considered for head coaching openings elsewhere, and the rest of the Tigers’ offense that returns some contributors, while mixing in some exciting new pieces.
On the other side of the ball, Clemson returns a Swinney-era record nine starters from the 15th ranked total defensive unit in 2020. That continuity should provide the offense time to gel and build rapport with one another before the championship chase begins.
While there are some new faces expecting to be contributors, the College Football Playoff world experienced unprecedented change in the form of the name, image, and likeness (NIL) revolution.
When questioned about his NIL interpretations, Swinney explained, “I don’t see it changing a whole lot. The goal of our program is to graduate young men and equipping them with the tools for life and to win a championship.”
When Swinney was pressed about the perception he previously held negative views of the NIL, Swinney countered, “I’m against the professionalization of college athletics. [The NIL] has not changed the model of college athletics.”
Even further changes that are being discussed is College Football Playoff expansion. Swinney stated, “Expansion is inevitable. The conversation is how do we make it right for the player? How do we save the bowls? I think there is a long way to go and a lot of conversation to happen. Money is driving that, and I assume that’s what the fans want. But, most importantly, what do the players want?”
Although the Tigers, and the college landscape as a whole, has endured some change, the Tigers are sure to be factors on the national stage in 2021.