As one of the best linebackers in the country says farewell to his time at Clemson, Dorian O’Daniel has certainly done an excellent job of leaving his mark.
The graduate student had 227 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks during his football career at Clemson. He is tied for first in Clemson history in special teams tackles (47) and second in games.
In 2017 O’Daniel was one of five finalists for the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, and also one of four finalists for the Bobby Bowden Award as a player who displays great character and leadership for his team.
O’Daniel emerged as one of the team’s biggest leaders and was a permanent co-captain for the season. On the field, he earned second-team All-American honors from the Associated Press and America Football Coaches Association, as well as All-ACC honors.
Despite the outcome of O’Daniel’s final season with the Tigers in which they advanced to the College Football Playoff Semi-Finals in the Sugar Bowl, O’Daniel helped Clemson win three straight ACC Championships, play in three straight CFP games, two national championship games and win one national title during his time at Clemson.
“I had a good time being on the field with my brothers,” O’Daniel said. “I didn’t leave any regrets on the field. I left it all out there and I’m proud of this team. I’m proud of how far we’ve come. Nobody really believed in us to get this far, so I’m just really thankful for all of these memories.”
O’Daniel said over the course of his five years at Clemson the mentality and mindset of he and his teammates has certainly changed for the better.
“Just the buy-in from the team,” he said. “Each year you have more and more guys buying in and whenever you have the whole team on the same page, you know our team commandments and what it takes to be great, it’s hard to get beat.”
After such a successful collegiate career O’Daniel hopes to have a promising career in the NFL. However, he did face a minor setback in which he suffered a rib injury while preparing for the Senior Bowl, which ultimately left him out of the game.
As one of the most underrated players on the draft board, the Clemson linebacker was already planning on proving to scouts that his athleticism and leadership skills are some of the best of any linebacker.
With the NFL Scouting Combine less than a month away, O’Daniel has the perfect opportunity to prove any potential doubters wrong. Right now he is focused on healing the injury and being back to fully healthy so that he can full his NFL dreams.