Strength, power and speed are all the ways one can describe Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
He has the strength to withstand most challenges that come before him. He has the power to fight through blocks and track down a ball carrier. He has the speed to get around any offensive tackle and sack the quarterback.
These are the qualities that made Ferrell an All-American and one of five finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s best defensive end.
Since coming on the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2016, Ferrell has been one of the best defensive ends in the country. He made an immediate impact on the national championship defense, and last year he ranked second in the ACC in tackles for loss and sacks.
Last season, Ferrell became just the third Clemson freshman or sophomore in history to earn Associated Press First Team honors, joining former wide receiver Sammy Watkins and former quarterback Deshaun Watson in that elite club.
Ferrell tallied 63 tackles last year, including 18 tackles for loss. Of those 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, 9.5 were sacks. He also had 12 quarterback pressures.
The Richmond, Va., native’s best game came at NC State in Week 10, when he totaled an amazing 12 tackles from his defensive end spot. Of those 12, five were for loss and one was a sack. Ferrell was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts.
Ferrell also earned the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week Award after the Syracuse game. He had eight tackles overall that night, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end also had five tackles and a sack against Auburn and five tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack against rival South Carolina. Ferrell tallied four tackles and one tackle for loss against Miami in the ACC Championship Game and had a sack of Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts in the Sugar Bowl.
Ferrell has always been known for the way he shows up in big games. In his freshman season, he had two sacks against No. 3 Louisville, two tackles for loss and another sack against No. 12 Florida State, two tackles for loss and sack against No. 19 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game and then earned Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP honors thanks to three tackles for loss and a sack in the win over No. 2 Ohio State.
Ferrell is being backed up by Justin Foster, Xavier Kelly, K.J. Henry and Richard Yeargin at strongside defensive end. The Tigers will begin fall camp in the first week of August. The season-opener with Furman is Sept. 1.
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