When someone is deemed important, they’re considered significant to the overall success of the company, family or team.
To succeed in team sports it takes a group of players to come together for a common goal. The goal for every team is to ultimately win a championship. At first it is a region, division or conference championship and if things progress it can be a state championship, national championship or even a Super Bowl.
To win these championships there are certain players that are considered important to the overall success of the team. In this series, The Clemson Insider takes a look at the 10 players we feel are important to the Tigers’ chances of winning a second national title in three years.
No. 10 Dexter Lawrence
When he came to Clemson in 2016, Dexter Lawrence was all the rave. Even guys like Deshaun Watson, Ben Boulware and Christian Wilkins marveled at what he can do.
When thinking about his 6-foot-5, 340-pound frame, Lawrence appears to be your prototypical defensive tackle who will take on blocks and take up a lot of space and allows a linebacker to find the ball carrier. However, he is a lot more.
Lawrence can do all of those things a normal defensive tackle can do, but he can also chase down running backs, power through centers and guards and can even stunt inside and get round blocks as fast as any defensive end.
Lawrence is an athlete that just happens to be 6-foot-5 and weighs 340 pounds.
“That’s Big Dex. He is a freak,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said.
The Clemson coaches knew they had something special in Lawrence before his freshman season. In the middle of one of the scrimmages, he went up to bat down a pass and just took the ball out of the air. He then proceeded to run 32 yards down the field towards the end zone before finally being brought down by one of the smallest guys on the team … wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (5-10, 180).
Though his teammates ragged him about being brought down by the much smaller Renfrow, the play itself was remarkable and right away Clemson knew they had someone special.
Lawrence even had Wilkins, who is freakishly athletic himself for a 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle, scratchy his head at times when he was a freshman.
In 2016, Lawrence was named the ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year after he recorded 79 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and had seven sacks.
Expectations were high for Lawrence in 2017, but he never quite lived up to them because he spent a large part of the year injured and banged up. A toe issue early in the season limited him and just when he was starting to get healthy, he hurt his foot against Georgia Tech.
“I was never one hundred percent, ever,” Lawrence said.
The rising junior had just 39 tackles, three tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 2.5 of those were sacks. Despite the decline in his numbers, Lawrence was still good enough to earn All-ACC First Team honors. However, he knows he can do more.
“That is kind of my goal right now is just to get all the way back,” he said.
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!