Confident Clemson expecting a championship run in 2018

<p>
              FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2013, file photo, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney leads the team down the lane before the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Florida State, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
            </p>

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s got a different message with his Tigers this year.

Think more of a “Bring it on,” rather than “We’ve got work to do.”

With experience, depth and some of the best newcomers in the game, three-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion Clemson seems the biggest lock in college football for a fourth consecutive trip to the final four. So much so that even Swinney can’t deny it.

“I feel great about this team. I love this team,” Swinney said. “Last year was such a fun, different challenge for us. But this team, we’ve got all the ingredients. I think we’ve got talent. We’ve got experience. We’ve got depth. We’ve got character. We’ve got good leadership. So we have, I think, all of the things that it takes.”

The Tigers, who were 12-2 last year, are certainly experienced . Defensive linemen in Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant all passed up the NFL draft to play again in college. Throw in monster tackle Dexter Lawrence — who says he’s completely healthy from a toe issue that slowed him at times last year — and the Tigers might have the most fearsome front four in college football.

Behind them are veteran linebackers Kendall Joseph and Tre Lamar and dynamic safeties Tanner Muse and K’von Wallace.

The offense appears loaded, too. Left tackle Mitch Hyatt is back after considering the NFL to anchor the offensive line with veterans in center Justin Falcinelli and guard Sean Pollard. Sophomore Travis Etienne is bigger and faster in the backfield while Tavien Feaster and Adam Choice there to back him up.

Kelly Bryant entered summer as Clemson’s No. 1 quarterback , although he’s getting pushed from five-star freshman Trevor Lawrence, who broke the Georgia high school marks for passing yards and TDs held by former Clemson All-American Deshaun Watson.

One area of concern before the season opener with Furman on Sept. 1 is the receiving corps. While Clemson’s group is packed with potential only national championship hero Hunter Renfrow has shown consistency.

But that’s not nearly enough to dampen enthusiasm for a big, big things this year at Clemson.

“I think we’ve come a long way, really. We’ve become a close team at this point,” Swinney said. “We’re very pleased with the morale and the chemistry that I’ve seen already.”