5 Tigers set for breakout seasons

With the start of preseason camp three weeks away, CUTigers takes a look at the five players set for breakout seasons on the Clemson football team.

5. WR DEANDRE HOPKINS - (6-2, 200)
It's rare a true freshman would make a list like this but given Clemson's dearth of proven playmakers at the wide receiver position, chances are Hopkins will be given every opportunity to grab a starting spot before the year is over. Big, physical and possessing great hands, don't be surprised to hear Hopkins' name mentioned regularly by head coach Dabo Swinney during preseason camp. Could he actually catch 30 passes this season? Assuming he stays healthy, don't rule it out.

4. CB BYRON MAXWELL - (6-1, 200)
A special teams dynamo in recent years, Maxwell finally gets his opportunity to showcase his talents a starting cornerback in 2010. Oddly enough, Maxwell actually had the same number of stops (36) as did starting corner and sixth round draft pick Crezdon Butler did a year ago (15 were on special teams). Maxwell's coverage skills will certainly be tested in Kevin Steele's scheme, but rest assured you won't find a better run-support corner in the league.

3. OLB QUANDON CHRISTIAN - (6-3 1/2, 215)
After securing a starting spot during spring practice, Christian figures to be under the spotlight in a major way throughout the 2010 campaign. With almost 25 pounds of "good weight" added to his 6-3 1/2 frame since arriving on campus at 195 pounds, Christian should be one of the major reasons Clemson's linebackers show significant improvement this season. Always agile in the open field, Christian's nose for the football should pay huge dividends for a Clemson defense that will show massive improvement against the run.

2. RB ANDRE ELLINGTON - (5-10, 185)
A lethal threat on the ground or through the air, Ellington figures to be this year's version of C.J. Spiller for the Clemson offense. How he splits carries with Jamie Harper will ultimately dictate whether or not he can top the 1,000-yard mark, but don't be surprised if he starts to become Clemson's work horse in the backfield as the season goes along. Believe it or not, he may actually be a better runner between the tackles than Spiller.

1. TE DWAYNE ALLEN - (6-4, 255)
Make no mistake, Allen will have enough passes thrown his way to shatter Michael Palmer's reception record for a tight end in 2009 (43). Assuming his hands are as good as advertised, it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest Allen could haul in 50 or 55 passes this season. Simply put, if Clemson's offense is going to come anywhere close to its production from a year ago, Allen will be a major reason why.

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