Clemson has not exactly had a quiet offseason, and that should be a little disconcerting for a team that many consider favorites to win the ACC.
Over the span of two days this week, Clemson announced starting kicker Ammon Lakip has been suspended indefinitely and starting left tackle Isaiah Battle will enter the NFL supplemental draft. In May, key backup Ebenezer Ogundeko was dismissed from the team as well.
The offensive line has now been thrown into upheaval, with the potential for true freshman Mitch Hyatt to start at left tackle. Battle had his share of maturity issues during his Clemson career, but he played more snaps than any offensive lineman last year and was supposed to bring needed stability at tackle, absolutely huge as mobile Deshaun Watson returns from an ACL injury.
Hyatt, a five-star prospect, was one of the highest-rated offensive linemen in the 2015 class and participated in spring practice, but growing pains are going to be expected given the vast difference in game experience between he and Battle. The Clemson offensive line struggled at various points last season, so solidifying this group is going to be absolutely vital in fall camp -- especially since the team's hopes rest on a healthy Watson and what he can do with the plethora of talent he has at the skill positions. If the offensive line doesn't come together, watch out.
Depth on the defensive line was a concern in the spring following the departures of Vic Beasley, Corey Crawford and Tavaris Barnes. But that concern was amplified when Ogundeko was dismissed after he was arrested and charged with one count of financial transaction fraud. Ogundeko drew praise from coach Dabo Swinney during the spring because he really started to stand out. Now, Clemson has no experienced depth behind Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd.
Special teams has become a concern as well, after Lakip was arrested and charged with cocaine possession and driving under the influence, leading to his suspension. With punter Bradley Pinion deciding to leave school early to enter the draft, Clemson now has no experienced kickers or punters going through offseason work.
Perhaps more troubling than depth charts and roster numbers for Swinney: Battle, Ogundeko and Lakip all found themselves in legal trouble, and that is never a good look for any program. One offseason arrest is more than any coach ever wants. Swinney has had his hands full more than most years in this department.
Clemson appears to be a slightly more flawed team now than it was when spring practice ended in April. Maybe the Tigers won't be considered preseason favorites anymore. Maybe these are small issues that can be addressed and fixed quickly. There are still several months to work on depth and developing players before the season kicks off.
But it's hard to ignore some of the red flags, even in June.