Yesterday we covered the offense, so now it’s time to get a preview of the Clemson Tigers defense. Shockingly, the defense is also ridiculously good.
While we have yet to see the Clemson defense play a game this season, I think it’s safe to assume that with Brent Venables—arguably the best defensive coordinator in the nation—at the helm, the Tigers are probably going to be one of the best defenses in the nation again this year. Last season, the Tigers gave up just 13.5 points and 288 yards per game, good for 3rd and 5th best in the nation respectively. That unit did lose several big time players to the NFL, including Isaiah Simmons (8th pick), A.J. Terrell (16th pick), Tanner Muse (100th pick), and K’Von Wallace (127th pick). Even with a constant stream of 5-star talent, that level of experience and skill in the secondary won’t be easy to replace.
The strength of the Clemson defense this season should be the front 4, where the Tigers return all 4 starters and every player from the 2-deep depth chart from a season ago. Most notably, the Tigers are getting back Tyler Davis, who finished last season with 6.5 sacks and 10.5 TLF as true freshman. To go along with Davis and the rest of depth on the line, Clemson also brought in a ridiculous amount of talent in the 2020 class, including: Bryan Bresee, the #1 overall recruit and the best DT in the 2020 class; Myles Murphy, the #3 overall recruit and the best DE in the class; DeMonte Capehart, the 24th best recruit and 2nd best DE in the class; and Tre Williams, the 87th best player and 8th best DT in the 2020 class. It’s scary to think about how good a unit like that could be given 5 years at Clemson.
It may be a good thing that the Deacs have Clemson for the first game of the year. The Tigers’ defense has several new starters, especially in the secondary, and it could take a couple of games before they get into the flow of things. That being said, Wake Forest has only managed to score 6 points in the last 2 games against the Tigers, so I feel very confident saying that getting points on the board on Saturday is going to be an uphill struggle.