With spring practice (mostly) in the past, Clemson still sits atop USA Today’s most recent power rankings for the 2021-22 season.

However, the Tigers still have a lot to prove. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was disappointing last season, as was Clemson’s offense as a whole.

Here’s some analysis on Clemson’s outlook from USA Today’s Paul Myerberg:

“It was only a year ago that DJ Uiagalelei was listed among the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy. Heading out of the spring and into the summer, it’s not even certain the junior will remain the Tigers’ starter. After throwing just nine touchdowns and averaging a paltry six yards per attempt in 2021, Uiagalelei will be tested by incoming freshman Cade Klubnik, a five-star recruit.”

While there’s uncertainty at the quarterback position, Clemson’s defense should be amongst the nation’s best in 2022. The Tigers return key players like Myles Murphy, Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry on their defensive front.

The ACC as a whole should be much stronger next season. Programs like Clemson, Miami, North Carolina and Florida State are all expected to be improved. Pitt, NC State and Wake Forest — who were at the top of the ACC last season — should be excellent again.

NC State and North Carolina are immediately behind the Tigers. The Wolfpack return quarterback Devin Leary, who is a first-team All-ACC candidate this season. The Tar Heels will have a newcomer at QB, but return talent and experience elsewhere on the roster.

Wake Forest and Pittsburgh round out USA Today’s top 5.

Clemson opens the season against Georgia Tech on Sept. 5.