The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s summer depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: Clelin Ferrell (6-5, 265)
Player position: Defensive end (strong side)
Years left of eligibility: 3 years
Current rank on depth chart: First team
Player productivity so far: Ferrell started every game last season. He recorded 50 tackles overall, including 12.5 tackles for loss. Six of those were sacks. He broke up two passes and pressured the quarterback 24 times, which led the team. He was voted the Most Valuable Defensive Player of the Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State after he recorded six tackles, had three tackles for loss and one sack.
What player does best: Ferrell just does not get after the quarterback, but he disrupts the entire backfield. He led the team in quarterback pressures, but he was also third in tackles for loss. He uses his speed coming off the edge as his advantage, but he also has the ability to set the edge and force running backs back inside so they spill over to the linebackers.
What player needs to work on: Ferrell believes he needs to put on some more weight. He said he weighed about 260 pounds during the season so he would like to see himself get to 270 prior to camp so it is easier for him to stay between 260-270 pounds once they get into the season.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position:
Daquan Bowers, 2008: He had 47 tackles as a true freshman, including eight tackles for loss and one sack. He also had three quarterback pressures.
Daquan Bowers, 2010: He finished second on the team with 74 tackles. He led the nation with 26 tackles for loss and with 15.5 sacks. He also had two more quarterback pressures. He was a unanimous First-Team All-American and won the Nagurski Award as the nation’s best defensive player.
Andre Branch, 2008: He played in just 8 games as a true freshman. He had 11 tackles and one tackle for loss.
Andre Branch, 2011: He finished second on the team with 85 tackles. He led the team with 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He was a second-team all-American in 2011.
Shaq Lawson, 2013: He played in 13 games and tallied 35 tackles, including 10 for loss. He also had four sacks and 9 quarterback pressures.
Shaq Lawson, 2015: He finished fourth on the team with 88 tackles. He led the nation with 25.5 tackles for loss and was second in sacks with 12.5. He was a First-Team All-American.
What can you hope for? You hope Ferrell plays like he did in the big games last season. Against Auburn, Louisville, Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Alabama, Ferrell was unblockable as he got in the backfield and disrupted everything.
What is a realistic expectation? The way he came on at the end of last season, there is no reason not to believe he will be one of the best defensive ends in the country. He should be among the leaders in sacks and tackles for loss when it is all done.
What about the future? It is very unlikely Ferrell, a redshirt sophomore, returns in 2018. If he has the kind of season we all expect him to have, including himself, then Ferrell will be a surefire first-round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.