Clemson Tigers

USA Today

The Future Is Even Brighter For Clemson

The Tigers are sitting on top of the mountain and they aren’t going anywhere.

January 08, 2019 - 10:01 am

Let’s get one thing clear about last night: that was not a changing of the guard. That was a storming of the gates. 

Clemson didn’t sneak that out with a last-second touchdown. Or pull away at the end for a 10-point win. Clemson beat the living crap out of the alleged best team in Bama history.

So if you go 15-0 and beat the best team in Bama history and maybe the best team ever, what does that make you? 

I’ll tell you what it makes you – a team that isn’t going anywhere. 

Because as scary as Clemson was last night, here’s the thing that should really scare college football: there were a hell of a lot of freshmen and sophomores doing that damage. I know the defensive line has a lot of experience on it and they’ll lose some underclassmen to the draft, but did you see Trevor Lawrence last night?

19 years old and he turned Nick Saban’s defense inside out. He absolutely picked them apart. No sacks. No turnovers. That hasn’t happened to a Saban Bama team in more than 130 games against Power 5 opponents. And yet Lawrence, a true freshman, made it look easy. 

Dabo came on the show last week and compared Trevor Lawrence to Deshaun Watson. That is high praise because Deshaun Watson was the greatest quarterback in Clemson history. I say was, because it sure looks like Trevor Lawrence is about to rip that mantle. And he hasn’t even started a full season yet. 

Trevor Lawrence doesn’t look like Clemson Deshaun Watson, he looks like NFL Deshaun Watson. Never has a freshman looked so out of place in college football, in the best way possible. I tweeted it last night: he looked like a grown ass man playing against children.  . 

He’s Zion Williamson in shoulder pads. And now he has to stay two more years? College football coaches around the country have to be freaking out about that rule and looking to push for a waiver. Not just because it’s ridiculously unfair to Lawrence that he has to wait, but because it’s ridiculously unfair to college football that Lawrence has to wait. 

Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd told The Athletic: “Michael Phelps was literally born to swim. The kid got webbed feet, the whole thing. Short trunk. Tall torso. He’s built for it. I said whatever Michael Phelps is to swimming, Trevor Lawrence is to throwing a football. Every freshman (QB) is bound to have a hiccup. This kid hasn’t. I don’t know if you call it a prodigy or a Bobby Fischer of chess, but Trevor Lawrence has got juice and he has the ‘it factor.’ ”

He’s got juice by the barrel. I mean, did you see those passes to Justyn Ross? And Justyn Ross is simply unfair by the way. 

Hey, want more nightmare fuel, ACC defensive coordinators? Ross is a freshman too. Travis Etienne? Sophomore. Amari Rodgers? Sophomore. Tee Higgins? Sophomore? Isaiah Simmons, the leading tackler last night? Sophomore. So to recap: everyone who scored or threw a touchdown is a freshman or sophomore. 

But here’s the scariest thing about last night for everyone not wearing a paw on their helmet – Clemson expected that. 

You might not have expected it, but they did. They knew they were going to do that. They shocked America, but they aren’t shocked at all. 

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables wasn’t shocked by anything he saw. In fact, he was the one doing the shocking. He turned Tua into knots.

That pick-six that started it off? No fluke.

Venables told The Athletic: “We had a little trap corner we thought might be there based on some stuff that (Tua) had done in the past. The corner read it great. We were in cloud coverage (something the Tigers hadn’t done too much of going into the game). It was huge right out the gate. We came out in the first round and gave ’em a couple of body blows and hit ’em right in the chin.” 

Body blow, body blow, Tiger uppercut! Tiger uppercut!

Clemson was so good, Christian Wilkins was giving Dabo a wet willy on the stage at the trophy presentation and they even slipped in a Suge Knight reference at the trophy presentation. That wasn’t the act of a group that was surprised to be there. 

And according to one report, they chased that by playing Dixieland Delight on the bus back to the hotel. Troll Tide!!

By the way, if you’re an elite recruit, which program would you want to play for right now? The one with the coach who dances in the locker room and laughs all the time, or the dude who looks miserable when he loses and even more miserable when he wins?

They out-Bama’d Bama. They out-processed the Process. They were the team that was calm in the moment while Bama’s players and coaches were freaking out.

So is this Clemson team the greatest team of all time? I don’t know. It’s impossible to compare eras and all that. But I know what everyone would’ve called Bama if they won that game, so you better call Clemson that now they’ve won it. 

And whether you want to call them it or not, just know that Clemson is sitting on top of the mountain and they aren’t going anywhere.