Back Clemson Defensive Line as Good as it Gets

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Clemson Defensive Line as Good as it Gets

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The front line is a leading reason why this program is favored to make a 7th straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Clemson's defensive line is set to be the best in college football once again.

The Tigers return a remarkably-talented two deep, boast former five-star recruits at every position along their front and have a coaching staff, from defensive coordinator Brent Venables to tackles coach Todd Bates and ends coach Lemanski Hall, that has helped set a national standard for play in the trenches. Rising sophomores Bryan Bresee and Myles Murphy are getting All-American attention this pre-season. The front line is a leading reason why this program, ranked consistently in the top three this summer, is favored to make a 7th straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Consider it a Clemson continuation.

Over the last eight seasons, the Tigers have either led the nation in tackles for loss or ranked second in the country seven times. The one year Clemson didn't slot in the top five, the defense finished sixth overall in tackles for loss and was still third in the game in sacks. From 2013-2016, the Tigers somehow paced college football in tackles for loss an astonishing four years in a row. Clemson has recorded at least three tackles for loss in 131 consecutive games, reaching double figures in 45 of those outings.

Furthermore, Clemson has finished first or tied for the national lead in sacks in three of the past four seasons and has ranked no lower than sixth since 2014.

Get ready for more of the same. This isn't just a trend for the Tigers, who have ten defensive linemen currently in the NFL, it's tradition.

Most recently, Bresee and Murphy just combined for 18 tackles for loss as true freshman. That duo, even though they have just one year of playing experience, along with tackle Tyler Davis and ends Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry, Justin Foster and Justin Mascoll, just to name a few, have combined for 91.5 career tackles for loss. Foster, who had 10.5 tackles for loss in 2019, recently announced his return to the team after stepping away from football due to covid-related health issues. Clemson's heralded front-four rotation will be as good as it gets.

Overall, this group could be another generational one. 

Given the depth and talent up front, the Tigers don't just have one of the nation's best defensive lines, they likely have two. There could be reserves who contend for all-conference honors.

Impressively, Clemson has ranked in the top 15 nationally in total defense seven years running, with six finishes in the top ten. That success starts at the line of scrimmage. College football's "DLU" has yet another defensive front set to dominate. This line has the potential be one of the best the Tigers have ever had.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports