Clemson's Top Five Players - OFFENSE

Who are Clemson's top five offensive players entering the start of preseason camp next month?

#5. QB Kyle Parker
Parker comes in at No. 5 on our list based off his impressive performance during spring practice and the fact he is on track to be Clemson's current starting quarterback for the Sept. 5 season opener against Middle Tennessee.

From the standpoint of sheer importance, Parker would certainly rank as one of the top players on either side of the ball, but the fact that he was Clemson's most consistent quarterback of spring practice cements him on our list at this position. With a strong arm, ample mobility and a confidence level that would make Jamie Foxx blush, the Tigers figure in solid shape under center in 2009.

#4. WR Jacoby Ford
Ford certainly has to be considered Clemson's top returning wide receivers as well as one of the top wide outs in the conference, but does he have what it takes to be a true No. 1 option in Clemson's offense? How many times have we seen a No. 2 wide out fail to live up to expectations left from a departing No. 1 wide receiver the previous season?

Can Ford do it? That question will be answered quickly once the Tigers enter the heart of conference play.

Regardless, as one of the fastest players in the ACC, Ford is even dangerous without the ball in his hands because he must be accounted for by opposing defenses at all times.

If he can somehow prove worthy of taking over the "go-to" role as Clemson's No. 1 receiver, he would certainly have the opportunity to move up our list.

#3. OG Thomas Austin
This redshirt senior has already piled up a mountain of preseason awards as one of the top offensive linemen in the ACC, and his importance to Clemson's overall offensive success this coming year cannot be overstated. Powerful at the point of attack and always knowledgeable to his younger teammates, Austin is both a leader by example and in the huddle.

In addition, his versatility to play guard or center only adds to his overall team value, which is one of many reasons he ranks ahead of Ford on our list.


C.J. Spiller comes in No. 1 on our list of top five players for the Tigers on offense.
#2. LT Chris Hairston
Surprised Hairston is No. 2 on our list? Don't be. The reality is this redshirt junior may hold the biggest key to Clemson's offensive success this season simply because he has to stay healthy. Entering the start of preseason camp, the Tigers lack a quality backup at the all-important left tackle position, meaning if Hairston were to go down, Kyle Parker, Willy Korn, Tajh Boyd or whoever is playing quarterback for the Tigers' blindside would likely consist of a traffic jam of opposing defensive linemen.

Simply put, Hairston has as much natural ability as any offensive lineman on Clemson's current roster and if he remains healthy- he could be a high round pick next year.

#1. RB C.J. Spiller
Who else? Spiller's speed, elusiveness, experience, and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as return kicks makes him one of the most dangerous players in all of college football this year.

New offensive coordinator Billy Napier and head coach Dabo Swinney have hinted throughout the offseason that Clemson's 2009 offense will go as far as Spiller can take it ... which should mean, at bare minimum, Spiller will hit career highs in carries and receptions.

If at least one possession every game this year doesn't feature C.J. Spiller left, C.J. Spiller right, C.J. Spiller up the middle on three consecutive carries, something is wrong.

Clearly, Spiller is Clemson's most proven offensive weapon entering the season and if Dabo is already talking about a Heisman campaign for his star senior, there must be huge plans in store for him in 2009.

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