The 2017 Clemson Tigers football team will represent Clemson University in the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers will be led by head coach Dabo Swinney in his ninth full year and tenth overall since taking over midway through 2008 season. They will play their home games at Memorial Stadium, also known as “Death Valley,” and will compete in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
They will embark on the 2017 season with a hard-earned but potentially burdensome tag – defending national champs. Defending, chasing, contending – whatever the case, there’s no question that the Tigers have joined the exclusive club of college football elites.
Under Coach Swinney’s guidance, the Tigers have won 70 games in the past six years, including a 35-31 victory against Alabama in the national title game in January for the program’s first championship in 35 years.
Despite the loss of much of last season’s offensive firepower, including quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver Mike Williams, tight end Jordan Leggett and running back Wayne Gallman, this team has the potential to make the playoffs for a third consecutive year. Much of Clemson success in 2017 will depend on who replaces Watson and Gallman.
While the offense plays catch-up, Clemson’s strength, at least early in the season, will be built around a defense that returns seven starters. Defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are All-America candidates, and defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant are potential stars as well.
This much is certain: It won’t take long for the Tigers to see what their shortcomings might be. After the opener, Clemson faces Auburn at home and then Louisville and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson on the road in Week 3.
About the Head Coach:
William Christopher “Dabo” Swinney was born November 20, 1969. He is an American college football coach. He is the head football coach at Clemson University. Swinney took over as head coach for the Clemson Tigers midway through the 2008 season, following the resignation of Tommy Bowden. Swinney led the 2016 Clemson Tigers football team to a victory in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, capturing a national championship.
Swinney was raised in Pelham, Alabama, and attended the University of Alabama, where he joined the Crimson Tide football program as a walk-on wide receiver in 1989. He earned a scholarship and lettered on three teams (1990–1992), including the Crimson Tide’s 1992 National Championship team.
During his time as an undergraduate at Alabama, Swinney was twice named an Academic All-SEC and SEC Scholar Athlete Honor Roll member. He received his degree in commerce and business administration in 1993 as well as a master’s degree in business administration from Alabama in 1995.
In 2002, his former position coach at Alabama, Tommy Bowden, made Swinney an offer to become an assistant coach for the wide receivers at Clemson, and Swinney joined in 2003. He took over as Recruiting Coordinator from popular longtime coordinator Rick Stockstill.
Swinney proved to be both an excellent wide receivers coach as well as recruiting coordinator, coaching ACC-leading receivers and being named one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters in 2007 by Rivals.com.
Swinney was named the interim head football coach on October 13, 2008, after previous head coach Tommy Bowden resigned six games into the 2008 season. He later became the permanent head coach.
Swinney’s nickname was given to him as an infant by his parents when his then-18-month-old brother would try to enunciate “dat boi” when referring to Swinney He married the former Kathleen Bassett in 1994 and has three sons.