Now that the drama at quarterback is over, the most pressing question heading into Aug. 3 is wide receiver. For the second storyline, attention jumps to the defensive side of the ball at linebacker. We'll head back to the offense in search of the seventh and eighth offensive linemen.
Lastly, the usual question around this time of year: which freshmen are going to redshirt?
1. KYLE PARKER'S TIMING
Much to the delight of the Clemson football faithful Kyle Parker is back for year two under center for the Tigers after flirting with the idea of only playing professional baseball.
Until return to the football team in late July, Parker had been focused solely on baseball. Instead of preparing for the fall in workouts and offseason drills with his football teammates, he was working as an integral piece in the Tigers' run to Omaha for the College World Series.
Amidst all the excitement one thing has been lost. How ready is he? Parker went through spring practice drills and was in for the final week of workouts.
The Clemson coaching staff maintained throughout spring practice that Parker looked impressive, no matter the circumstance.
2. STARTING AT WIDE RECEIVER
The storyline isn't much different than it was last fall. With the exception of then senior Jacoby Ford, there were plenty of unknowns at wide receiver in 2009, and not much has changed, expect for the departure of Ford.
Xavier Dye returns as the leading receiver from 2009. He's the likely starter at the X-receiver position, but could see a push from Brandon Clear. Both were listed as starters on the post-spring depth chart.
Also on the depth chart are Marquan Jones (A) and Terrance Ashe (Z). Earlier this summer, CUTigers projected redshirt sophomore Jaron Brown as the starter at Z along with Jones, a junior, as the other starter. We're sticking to those projections before camp opens.
More recent signees, redshirt freshman Bryce McNeal (A) and freshman DeAndre Hopkins (Z), will also be watched closely in August.
3. STARTING AT LINEBACKER
When Clemson opens the 2010 season against North Texas, at least two of the three starting linebackers in the 4-3 base defense will be starting for the first time, at their respective positions.
Brandon Maye, who was the starter at middle linebacker (MIKE) for 13 of the 14 games in 2009, could be moving over to the starting weak-side spot (WILL). He is competing with Jonathan Willard for the starting nod. Both were listed as starters on the post-spring depth chart.
Corico Hawkins has the edge at MIKE and Quandon Christian is penciled in as the starter on the strong-side (SAM). In the Music City Bowl against Kentucky, Hawkins started at MIKE with Maye limited because of an injury.
Freshman Justin Parker is expected to step in and compete right away for playing time on the outside.
4. DEPTH ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE
The Clemson offensive line is pretty solid one through six. After that the questions start to emerge.
Who's going to backup Chris Hairston and Landon Walker?
Is Kalon Davis ready to play this fall at right guard?
Brandon Thomas is being touted by the coaching staff as Hairston successor on the blind side. In a pinch, starting left guard David Smith could slide out to play tackle on the right side. That's assuming former walk-on tight end Phillip Price isn't ready for the role.
If not Davis, then maybe fellow 2010 signee David Beasley. Maybe Mason Cloy, who'll play both left guard and center this fall, can also spell Antoine McClain at right guard.
5. TO REDSHIRT OR NOT TO REDSHIRT?
The two we're very confident in are Hopkins and Parker, simply because of the needs at their respective positions. Tight ends Vic Beasley and Sam Cooper are in the same boat, too, but Beasley gets the nod for playing time. Davis is not far behind Beasley in fourth, especially after offensive coordinator Billy Napier's comments.
Others to consider are cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland, Darius Robinson and maybe Garry Peters, even though he was a late arrival to campus. Cornerback Martin Jenkins is up for consideration too, but that's as a return man.
Five storylines heading into camp
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