While everyone continues to talk about Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence as Clemson’s three-headed monster on the defensive line, Austin Bryant is quietly having his best camp since he came to Clemson.
The junior, who makes up Clemson’s fourth man on its ferocious defensive line, has been one of the breakout players this summer. Not a surprise considering his eight-tackle performance in the 2016 Orange Bowl when he came in for an injured Shaq Lawson early in the first quarter.
In Saturday’s first scrimmage of fall camp, Bryant had four tackles, including two sacks as the defense dominated the scrimmage.
“I thought the scrimmage was good,” Bryant said afterward. “Both sides got some good work in. It was a great day to come out here and get better and to sharpen each other up. It was kind of like one of our preseason games so I thought it was a good day for both sides.”
It was just another day at the office for Bryant, who continues to get rave reviews from head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
“Austin Bryant is better than he has ever been, though he has to line up onside when he is supposed to,” Venables said.
Bryant agreed with his coach, especially when it comes to making sure he is doing the little things, like lining up onside, correctly.
“I thought it was good, but I definitely need to improve in a lot of areas,” the 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end said. “I made a few plays, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. So I’m looking forward to keep practicing and getting better before we play our first game.”
On Saturday, Bryant was pleased with the way the defense came out and played with a lot of energy. The unit recorded 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks and forced two turnovers.
“I thought we came out strong and had a lot of energy,” he said. “We kept it throughout the day. We had a few spots where we were not as strong but we made up for it later in the day. That was good to see us keep grinding throughout the day.”
Now as the Tigers enter the third week of camp on Monday, Bryant is excited to see if they can keep things going on both sides of the football.
“I just want to see both sides of the ball continue to sharpen each other up,” he said. “I don’t want to see a letup because it is the third week of camp. I think we should get stronger as camp goes on and I’m looking forward to seeing that.
“I think the people we have on this team that is (going to be) the case.”
Have you ordered the 2017 Clemson season preview ‘Best is the Standard’ from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year? Order yours today to make sure you get a copy!