Clemson's defense shows potential stars emerging in spring game

Clemson wrapped up spring practice on Saturday with a stirring performance from Deshaun Watson in his first -- and likely only -- spring game in a Tigers uniform. But that was hardly the only standout performance. Here are three other big takeaways from Clemson’s spring finale.

1. Defense has weapons -- but maybe one big hole. Dabo Swinney has continued to preach that, while a lot of top-end experience may be gone, the depth throughout the defense is even better than it was a year ago. That certainly showed up in the spring game, as the defense essentially shut the door on the offense in the second half as many of the No. 2s entered the game. Freshman linebacker Tre Lamar had a big day with 10 tackles, Ryan Carter had a pick, Mark Fields had two pass breakups, Dexter Lawrence had a sack and Dorian O'Daniel had six tackles (one for a loss). The one big area of concern, however, is at safety, where walk-ons played a lot and the depth beyond Jadar Johnson and Van Smith is limited. Getting a healthy Korrin Wiggins back will be big, but youngsters are going to need to step up there.

2. Back-up QB isn’t settled. Remember this time last year when the biggest question at Clemson was whether Watson could stay healthy? That seems like a long time ago now, but it doesn’t mean the Tigers shouldn’t be concerned with their backup situation. Nick Schuessler has remained the nominal No. 2, but Kelly Bryant's upside appears much higher -- not to mention that Bryant could be the eventual replacement for Watson when he moves on to the NFL. The spring game probably does little to alter either perception, but it’s worth noting that Bryant didn’t look entirely sharp, completing just 9-of-17 with two interceptions.

3. There’s depth behind Wayne Gallman. At running back, Gallman will be the workhorse again this year, but he may have some solid options surrounding him to help pick up the load. Adam Choice had a solid spring game, leading all runners with 88 yards. Choice redshirted last season after getting injured midway through 2014, but it was easy to see why coaches have raved about his practice efforts all along. Beyond that, C.J. Fuller and Tyshon Dye can add something to the mix, too, further solidifying the notion that Clemson has as good -- and deep -- an offense as anyone in the country.