For the second straight year some are saying Clemson’s defense will take a step back because of the losses to the NFL and other attrition. In this series we will look at the players that have departed and how they will be replaced this season.
In this edition of The Replacements we look at how Clemson will replace B.J. Goodson at linebacker.
Goodson was one of seven Clemson defenders to move on to the NFL. He was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Giants in this past April’s NFL Draft.
In his senior season, Goodson led the Tigers in tackles with 160, including 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Kendall Joseph is the starter at MIKE linebacker coming out of the spring. Joseph, who was limited by injuries last season to his knee and shoulder, only played in seven games with a season total of 11 tackles. However, going into the 2015 season Joseph was the talk of the staff and was headed towards being the starter at MIKE.
The coaching staff had plenty of praise for a healthy Kendall Joseph this spring, as well. The sophomore lacks experience, but has the talent to be one of the next great linebackers at Clemson.
Tre Lamar, a five-star product in high school, enrolled early and showed the staff during the spring he is ready to push for the starting spot at MIKE linebacker.
Joseph had plenty of praise for Lamar after the spring.
“He is just huge. He is literally 6’4 and 240 pounds. God blessed him. He was built to play football. You can tell he is very intelligent,” Joseph said. “He is a great guy who works hard and is very humble. He is not the big-time recruit kind of guy. He came to work.”
Redshirt freshman Chad Smith is also ready to see playing time at MIKE linebacker and played well this spring.
There is no question the Tigers are more talented and deep at MIKE linebacker this year than in 2015, but they are inexperienced. As the season moves along, and Joseph and Lamar get that experience, the Tigers will have a very talented two deep at MIKE.
Competition makes you better and there will be a great battle at MIKE between Joseph and Lamar. In summary the Tigers will be just fine at MIKE even though they lost an NFL caliber player in Goodson. In fact by the second half of the season they may be better at the position.