CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall called them the best in the country. Miami head coach March Richt compared them to some of the great Miami and Florida State players of the 1990s, while Duke quarterback Daniel Jones says they jump out the screen when he watches them on television.
Of course they are all talking about Clemson defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant and defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. Otherwise known as Clemson’s defensive line.
“Their D-Line … everybody is going to talk about their D-Line for the next couple of days and probably the rest of this year,” Marshall said during Wednesday’s ACC Football Kickoff at the Westin Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.
Marshall knows all too well how good Clemson’s defensive front can be. The Tigers dominated the game and made life miserable for Marshall as he rushed for just 23 yards on 15 carries in Clemson’s 24-10 victory at Death Valley last year.
“If they stay healthy then they are by far the best D-Line you will see play in college football, in my opinion, and I’m sure other people will say the same thing,” he said. “They are the best group you will see come through this game.”
March Richt is not arguing with Marshall. The Hurricanes coach agreed that Clemson’s defensive line is every bit as good as the D-Lines he was around when he was an assistant coach at Florida State and the ones the Seminoles played from Miami.
“They are as good as or better,” the Hurricanes head coach said. “They are really, really good. I thought they all turned pro. I don’t, I guess they like to slide. It is awesome. What they are doing, they are doing it right, right? That’s good stuff.”
In last year’s ACC Championship Game, the Hurricanes had no answer for Clemson’s defense, and the defensive line lived in the backfield all night.
“That game? They were just better than us and whooped us. Really and truly, they were just better,” Richt said. “We have a ways to go. There is no doubt. They are the cream of the crop in our league for sure.”
When Clemson plays Duke on Nov. 17 at Death Valley, quarterback Daniel Jones will get a front row seat to just how good the Tigers can be.
“It is fun to watch them,” he said. “Their athleticism and speed jumps off the screen at you for sure. They are athletic as any team in the country. That will be a big opportunity for us.”
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