When you're as good as Clemson, there aren't many opportunities for newcomers to play. At the same time, when you recruit as well as Clemson does, the freshmen are so good that they can force their way into the lineup regardless of the returning talent.
That especially appears to be the case for this coming season. The Tigers may be the nation's top-ranked team going into the fall and have top recruits from previous classes salivating over the chance to see action. But those that signed in December (and February) are considered the nation's third-ranked class and are dripping with top-end talent.
There are a lot more than five guys to watch from Clemson's group of newcomers. But I had to stop somewhere.
Bryan Bresee, DT
Like 14 others from Clemson's 2020 class, the nation's top-rated prospect is already on campus and will be showing his skills in spring drills. Tyler Davis was an immediate impact guy at defensive tackle last year and it would surprise no one if Bresee has a similar impact despite a crowded depth chart. It is also possible that he could slide outside in certain situations. Either way, Bresee will be on the field.
Myles Murphy, DE
Murphy was the nation's top strong-side defensive end prospect according to 247Sports and also should be in the mix for playing time. At The Opening last summer, the Powder Springs, Georgia, product ran a 4.65 40 and weighed in at 260 pounds. Xavier Thomas will be the starter on the strong side, but he better watch what Murphy does very closely.
D.J. Uiagalelei, QB
Obviously, Uiagalelei will not be starting at quarterback for Clemson unless something bad happens to Trevor Lawrence. But assuming No. 16 is playing his final season at Clemson, it would behoove head coach Dabo Swinney to get some meaningful reps for Uiagalelei this fall so he can be ready in 2021. Of course, redshirt freshman Taisun Phommachanh will be battling to earn the top backup spot, as well.
Demarckus Bowman, RB
His situation is similar to that of Uiagalelei in that there is no way that he will claim the starting position. The goal will be to push for carries in order to be next up in 2021. Bowman has more competition at his position with Lyn-J Dixon already established as a quality reserve and Chez Mellusi showing promise last season. But Bowman averaged better than 11 yards per carry during his high school career and was a five-star prospect pursued by Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and everyone else.
Trenton Simpson, LB
The opportunity is there for Simpson to see the field. Isaiah Simmons and Chad Smith are gone at linebacker and those holes will need to be filled. It is likely that defensive coordinator Brent Venables uses a rotation on the second level and the nation's top outside linebacker prospect has impressed since arriving on campus in January.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, covering the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.