Clemson vs. Va. Tech: 5 Reasons Why the Tigers Have the ACC's Brightest Future

John PattonContributor IOctober 1, 2011

Clemson vs. Va. Tech: 5 Reasons Why the Tigers Have the ACC's Brightest Future

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    For many years, Clemson has proven to be the ACC's biggest enigma.

    The Tigers always seem to be loaded with talent and speed but, somehow, they haven't won a conference championship since the advent of the ACC title game.

    Could the days of underachieving be coming to an end? It's a good possibility, and here are a few reasons why.

Sammy Watkins

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    Despite the fact he's less than six months removed from his senior prom, wideout Sammy Watkins already is one of college football's brightest stars.

    Don't believe it? Just ask Florida State.

    In the Tigers' 35-30 victory against the Seminoles last weekend, Watkins caught seven passes for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

    In all, the younger brother of Florida Gators defensive back Jaylen Watkins had 175 all-purpose yards. And don't be surprised if performances like that become the norm.

Tajh Boyd

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    The Tigers went to Hampton, VA to sign Tajh Boyd away from the likes of Oregon and Ohio State.

    And so far, the 6'1" 225-pound redshirt sophomore looks like a major part of Clemson's present and future.

    Unfortunately for Boyd, perhaps the major snapshot memory of his performance in the Tigers' 35-30 victory against Florida State was an ugly fumble the Seminoles' Bjorn Werner took 25 yards for a touchdown.

    However, aside from that play, Boyd was brilliant, completing 22-of-35 for 344 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for a score.

A Playmaking Defense

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    Against FSU's high-powered offense, the Tigers gave up just 19 first downs and, get this, 29 rushing yards on 15 carries (1.9 YPC).

    They also intercepted a pass and recorded a pair of sacks.

    The unit is young and should continue to get better.

Recruiting Florida

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    The Tigers have done a brilliant job recruiting in the state of Florida in recent years.

    Perhaps the greatest Tigers player of the last couple of decades—running back C.J. Spiller—grew up in Lake Butler, FL, less than a 30-minute drive from The Swamp. And his replacement, Jamie Harper, is a Jacksonville native.

    Likewise, the current roster is loaded with some of the most highly-coveted prospects the Sunshine State has produced in recent seasons in players like Sammy Watkins (Fort Myers), Mike Bellamy (Nocatee), Tony Steward (Hastings) and Cortez Davis (Daytona Beach) to name just a few.

Dabo Swinney

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    When Spiller flirted with transferring to the Florida Gators, the primary reason he elected to stay at Clemson was coach Dabo Swinney.

    Spiller said the coach has a wonderful understanding of how to connect with his players, adding that Swinney makes you feel like part of a family and not just a piece of a football program.

    "He makes you want to work hard for him," Spiller said. "He cares about everyone on his team and is the kind of person you would want in your life even if he wasn't your coach."