Instant Impact: What position groups can Clemson football fill with their Freshmen?

We are at the college football year stage where coaches and teams know what they have lost and what is to come. For Clemson football, that is exactly the case as well. 

With plenty of players gone to the transfer portal, NFL Draft and being out of eligibility, the Tigers will have a new-look squad to roll out for their first game on August 31, facing the Georgia Bulldogs in a high-intensity matchup. With that comes the 2024 freshmen class, who have turned heads during practices and Clemson’s spring game. 

The team is inside three months to the beginning of their opening game to the 2024-2025 season, and with a “next man up” mentality defining Clemson football for the last 15 years, here are some of the position groups that I believe that the freshmen class could influence early on. 

Wide receiver

The most obvious choice, especially from what Clemson fans and coaches have seen from practices and the spring game last month, is the wide receiver room. Two of the highlights from Clemson’s recent recruiting class, Bryant Wesco Jr. and T.J. Moore, could be two players from the 2024 class that could provide an impact in the first game of the season. 

Fans already know this with Wesco, who was a mid-year enrollee in January and was featured in the Tigers’ spring game. In that game, he caught a highlight-reel pass with one hand, hauling in a ball from quarterback Trent Pearman from over his shoulder for the only passing touchdown of the game. He caught three balls for 26 yards in April’s scrimmage. 

That has been expected from the Midlothian, Texas, native from the start. A five-star prospect when he committed to the Tigers, Wesco has the ability and the talent to be Clemson’s WR1 this season, it is just a matter of who will step up in the wide receiver room. Last season, it was freshman Tyler Brown who led the team in receiving yards. The year before that? Antonio Williams. History could repeat itself once again. 

We have not even seen Moore in a Clemson uniform yet, who is now upgraded to a five-star recruit. The No. 4 wide receiver recruit from this most recent class, the Tampa native’s high school tapes show nothing but highlight reel plays, having incredible balance and touch to bring in fantastic catches. 

Wesco and Moore could be Clemson’s two-headed monster on offense this season and in years to come. With “Wide Reciever U” being Clemson’s trademark over the last ten years, despite the lack of production as of late, these two freshmen standouts could fill the holes early and bring this name back to Death Valley. 


One of the biggest problems with the team last season? Special teams, and it stemmed from missed field goals.

Especially early on, a lot of that fell on Robert Gunn III’s shoulders, a redshirt freshman last season. Missing two field goals in their opening game and another in Clemson’s win against Florida Atlantic, it caused head coach Dabo Swinney to bring in graduate kicker Jonathan Weitz, who would finish out the season as the starting kicker. 

While Gunn was still given faith by Swinney, he would go 1-for-3 in Clemson’s spring game. If the woes continue for the now-redshirt sophomore, expect Hauser to potentially see some snaps as a freshman. 

Hauser nailed both of his attempts in the scrimmage, hitting one from 29 and another from 48 yards out. A three-star recruit from Cornelius, North Carolina, don’t be surprised if Hauser’s successes from field goal range give him late-game opportunities to help the Tigers next season. 

Cornerback and Safety

One of the worst blows to Clemson’s squad after last season was the amount of experience lost in the secondary, which saw experienced veterans, Sheridan Jones, Nate Wiggins and Jaelyn Phillips leave for the NFL Draft. With that comes a lot of opportunities for players looking for more snaps. 

With the class that the Tigers had, however, don’t be surprised if many of the freshmen see action early and have impacts that Avieon Terrell, Khalil Barnes and Shelton Lewis had as freshmen last season. 

One freshman had an interception in Clemson’s spring game: Tavoy Feagin. The Tampa, Florida native recorded a pick off of Cade Klubnik and then returned it 44 yards to put his squad in great field position. He would also record two pass breakups and be one of Team White’s best players on defense. 

Many others could be key starters for Clemson next season but were not featured in the scrimmage due to injury. Two of those were cornerback Corian Gipson and safety Ricardo Jones. Both were four-star recruits coming out of high school and mid-year enrollees. 

We have not even discussed Ashton Hampton as well, who committed to the Tigers as a cornerback while playing safety in high school. All of these players will have plenty of opportunities to take a starting cornerback spot, but it will not be easy. 

Clemson always has several freshmen who make important impacts down the stretch of the season, and these three position groups all have the potential to have a player be a key asset to the squad. 

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