By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After a season for the record books, Clemson’s football program looks to rebuild both their offensive and defensive fronts. One player that will need to be replaced is defensive end Andre Branch who led the team with 17 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and 85 tackles in 755 snaps. Who will take Branch’s place when the Tigers’ run down the hill for the first time next season?
As of right now it’s looking like it will be sophomore Corey Crawford, who had moments of greatness last season, proving to Clemson fans why he was rated the #1 rated prep school player coming out of Hargrave Military Academy in 2010. Crawford understands already that he has some big shoes to fill but is ready and willing to put in the work.
“I know I have some big shoes to fill,” Crawford said after practice on Monday. “I’m ready for the challenge though. It’s going to take me working hard in practice to get there, listening to my coaches, and right now it’s getting there.”
Crawford isn’t ready to say that he’s on point right now, as he not only is practicing more with the first team but also is learning a completely new defensive system under first year coordinator Brent Venables. What areas does Crawford believe he needs to work on?
“I need to get more fundamentally sound in my technique,” Crawford said. “Get more physical, stronger and faster, there’s always room for improvement in all aspects of my game.”
Crawford knows what it will take to fill the void on the defensive line left by Branch, and although he has had to spend more time learning the plays during the off season than working on other aspects of his game he believes that he can step up and perform the way that knows he can in order for Clemson to win football games.