ESPN college football analyst Keyshawn Johnson said Thursday that he believes Clemson’s run as a national title contender is over.

Johnson cited Clemson’s recent assistant coaching turnover — namely Jeff Scott, Tony Elliott and Brent Venables — as the biggest reason for the Tigers taking a step back.

He believes Clemson has struggled to recruit in key areas as a result of those coaches leaving and has that has allowed other ACC programs to catch up to the Tigers.

“The rest of the ACC is still a solid conference that Clemson has now come back to the pack in my opinion,” Johnson said. “That’s one of the main reasons that I feel this way.

“When Clemson was on their run … they were loaded with NFL talent from front to back. At every position. Like Alabama, like at Georgia, like at old USC. That’s not the case now. They don’t have NFL talent at every position from front to back. And when they have to go up against some of these other schools that they’ve now come back to the pack with, it’s gonna be tough for them to just be this juggernaut in the conference and just steamroll people like they were in the past.”

Here’s the full segment, which includes thoughts from Max Kellerman and Jay Williams:


It’s worth noting that Clemson is expected to have one of the top defenses in the country this season. The Tigers return players like Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and Trenton Simpson — all 3 are expected to be 1st round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Clemson’s 2023 recruiting class is also off to a solid start. The Tigers have 19 commitments and the class ranks No. 8 nationally, per 247Sports Composite rankings.

Clemson is expected to be favored in every regular season game it plays this season. The Tigers begin the 2022 campaign with Georgia Tech on Sept. 5.