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Scouting the Clemson roster: Dorian O’Daniel

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: Dorian O’Daniel (6-1, 215)

Player position: Linebacker (strongside)

Years left of eligibility: 1 year

Current rank on depth chart: First Team

Player productivity so far: O’Daniel has been one of Clemson’s best special teams performers, and moved into a starting linebacker role in 2016. He has 116 tackles, including 15.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks, while playing in 40 career games. He has 37 career tackles on special teams. In 2016, O’Daniel had 60 tackles in 15 games, including 12 starts. He also had 10 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, as well as an interception and a caused fumble.

What player does best: O’Daniel played the run well, and is especially good at stopping zone-running and triple option teams. He has good instincts, but also stays true to his coaching and plays with good fundamentals.

What player needs to work on: O’Daniel can continue to work on getting stronger so he is better equipped to take on blocks from pulling guards and fullbacks.

Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):  
Travis Blanks, 2015: He played in all 15 games and recorded 43 tackles, including 4 tackles for loss and one sack. He also broke up two passes and had three quarterback pressures.

B.J. Goodson, 2014: He played in 12 games and recorded 34 tackles, including 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and one sack. He also had two passes broken up and three quarterback pressures.

Quandon Christian, 2012: He played in all 13 games and recorded 40 tackles, including 4 tackles for loss and two sacks. He also broke up two passes and had six quarterback pressures. He had one interception as well.

Quandon Christian, 2013: He played in all 13 games and recorded 49 tackles, including 8 tackles for loss. He also had one sack, three passes broken up and had three quarterback pressures.

What can you hope for? O’Daniel is even better in 2017 than he was last year. O’Daniel had a very good junior campaign and by returning to school for his senior year he has an opportunity to be even better after having one year starting under his belt. He is the first player to return and start at the strongside position in back-to-back years since Quandon Christian.

What is a realistic expectation? Seventy plus tackles is a very realistic expectation for O’Daniel. I can see him having the kind of season that could earn him All-ACC accolades and possibly All-American ones, too, if everything goes according to plan.

What about the future? This is the last year for O’Daniel in a Clemson uniform as he burns all of his eligibility up. He will get a shot at making an NFL roster after this season because of his natural instincts and the way he plays against the run.

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