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Clemson prepares for ACC, National title defenses in 2017

The coaches of the ACC's Atlantic Conference post for a photo at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte. (Photo courtesy Tigernet.com)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WSET) - You couldn't miss all the hardware on display at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte.

Trophies for the Orange Bowl and the Heisman Trophy all on display, as the ACC cleaned up in bowl wins and postseason awards in 2016.

The two biggest trophies on display were the conference championship, and the 2016 National Championship, which both currently belong to Dabo Swinney's Clemson Tigers.

2017, however, could prove difficult for the Tigers to repeat in either category, as a slew of offensive talent moved on after the title game win against Alabama.

Combined with other teams maturing nicely, it leaves the door for other Atlantic teams to make their mark.

Wake Forest defensive lineman Wendell Dunn says he enjoys the underdog role the Deacons play, saying "We want people to doubt us. We want the other teams to doubt us. We want them to think 'oh, it`s just Wake Forest we're playing', so when we get out there and we punch them in the mouth, and come off that field with that win."

Wake Forest is among several teams in a stacked Atlantic Division looking to make noise. Florida State is coming off a 10-win season with an Orange Bowl victory, and returns with Heisman hopefuls Deondre Francois at QB, and Derwin James at Free Safety.

As for the Tigers, they are still hopeful, despite losing DeShaun Watson a ton of starters from last season. Upcoming seniors say Clemson is still hungry to take their championship team, and build it into a legacy. Jr. Def. Tackle Christian Wilkins described his role as a leader, saying "What I'm trying to convey to the rest of the team and just encourage guys what to think or how to think is it was a greater accomplishment to reach one National Championship and win that, but really, why not win two? We shouldn't get complacent because we won one."

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