Last season ended as Clemson capped off a historical season with a thrilling last second national championship win avenging the previous season’s loss in legendary fashion.
Tiger players know what it took to finish off arguably the best season in program history and were frustrated to hear pundits and outsiders cast doubt on the legendary season.
Entering the 2017 season the message to the team from the coaching staff was simple: “leave no doubt.” The message clearly resonated with the team that has flexed its muscles every time outsiders cast doubt.
Graduate linebacker Dorian O’Daniel is prepared to do the same in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day against Alabama.
O’Daniel remembers the negative voices from last season.
“Last season there was a lot of doubt about how we got to the College Football Playoff and won the national championship” he said. “Whether it was the last second tackle against Louisville or the interception vs. NC State.”
Clemson has left little room for doubt in their 2017 campaign with the exception of the Syracuse loss with a gimpy Kelly Bryant who left at halftime in the Friday night game in the Carrier Dome.
First the Tigers knocked off no. 13 Auburn in a gritty defensive gridlock 14-6, then blasted no. 14 Louisville 47-21 on the road, shut down no. 12 Virginia Tech in a hostile environment 31-17, outlasted 20th ranked N.C. State in Raleigh 38-31, squashed no. 24 South Carolina 34-10, and obliterated seventh ranked Miami in the ACC Championship Game 38-3.
Clemson has more than proved themselves as elite against ranked teams despite being picked to lose each of those games by many national pundits and analysts.
O’Daniel has put together an excellent season cementing himself as a top NFL prospect in the 2018 draft class. The linebacker earned a pair of first team All-America honors as well as a few second team nods while amassing 99 tackles including 10.5 tackles-for-loss and five sacks.
He is ready for the test of playing Alabama and everything that comes with facing the Crimson Tide. O’Daniel’s message is simple entering his third College Football Playoff.
“This year we want to leave no doubt, we are going to let the best team win and leave no doubt.”