While Clemson has gained a reputation for producing NFL-caliber wide receivers, the Tigers are poised to flood the NFL market with defensive linemen this year. With three of his charges poised to grace the NFL next year, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gave his personal evaluations for his former stars.
Per TigerNet, during an interview on CBS Sports Radio, Swinney spoke glowingly about Dexter Lawrence, calling him “a mountain of a man” and identifying him as one of the most unique prospects in the draft. Last year, Lawrence had 36 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks as a defensive tackle.
“Dexter Lawrence is a mountain of a man,” he said. “He’s massive. He’s an unbelievable kid. You can’t find people like him. To me, there’s nobody in the draft like Dexter Lawrence – nobody. Nobody in the country. He’s the most unique guy in the draft.”
Regarding versatile defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, Swinney called the pass rusher a dynamic player with the potential to be a game-changer. Wilkins had 14.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries for the Tigers last year.
“Master’s degree in three-and-a-half years, never made below a 3.0, won the Campbell Trophy which is the academic Heisman, big personality, loves to practice, loves the weight room, going to be unbelievable in the community – this guy is going to be a game-changer,” Swinney said. “This guy is as dynamic a player as there is and such a leader.”
Finally, star pass rusher Clelin Ferrell was referred to as “the best defensive end in the draft” and “the most complete player at his position.” Ferrell led the Tigers with a whopping 20.0 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.
“Clelin Ferrell, I think, is the best end in the draft,” Swinney said. “I think he’s the most complete player in the draft at his position. This is just a special group. They’re going to all land somewhere, and they’re going to make a huge impact with their new teams.”
The three defensive linemen contributed greatly to Clemson having the No. 1 scoring defense in the country last year.
The Tigers allowed only 13.1 points per game on average, and held the four ranked opponents they faced – N.C. State, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Alabama – to a combined 33 points en route to a first-ever 15-0 record and a national title.
Suffice it to say, Swinney is proud of his defensive stars – and it shows.