CLEMSON - Talk about transition on the offense: one of college football's most notable prognosticators doesn't know what to make of Clemson's playmakers, either.
Releasing his preseason all-ACC squads Wednesday (first through fourth), Phil Steele doesn't list a single Tiger on the top three teams. On the fourth line, he has junior wide receiver Charone Peake (coming off ACL rehab) and freshman tailback Wayne Gallman (currently listed fourth on the depth chart.)
It's quite the startling turnaround from Steele's 2013 preseason squads, which dubbed quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins on the top team and left tackle Brandon Thomas on the second squad. All three of those players are now in the NFL.
This might be less an act of disrespect toward offensive coordinator Chad Morris' unit and more a statement of unpredictability as far as who steps up for Clemson this fall. Quarterback Cole Stoudt, receivers Mike Williams and Adam Humphries and center Ryan Norton would be the perceived snubs from the Steele teams, if there are such things.
Different story on the defensive side of the squads: six Tigers on the top four teams, just like 2013. But last year, none were first-team. This year, defensive end Vic Beasley, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and linebacker Stephone Anthony are Steele preseason first-teamers.
Defensive end Corey Crawford and safety Jayron Kearse (third team) and linebacker Tony Steward (fourth) are also mentioned.
Humphries was named a fourth-team punt returner. Bradley Pinion is not listed, despite placing 24 punts inside the 20-yard-line last year and none in the end zone for a touchback.
The program leading the way - no, trumping all comers in the way - on Steele's all-ACC preseason team is Florida State, which occupies a whopping 19 of the 112 spots on the team.
Next up is ACC newcomer Louisville with 13 players on the list, followed by Duke and Virginia Tech with 11 each and Miami with 10. Clemson's nine selections are tied for sixth with North Carolina.
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