Albert Huggins entered Clemson as one of the nations most touted defensive players, ranking as the number one player in South Carolina in some publications. However, during his freshman season Huggins was moved to defensive tackle where he had to learn to play inside.
After the switch, it took the Orangeburg, S.C., native some time to get accustomed to playing inside and to reach the level of physicality to play defensive tackle. Last season he recorded 21 tackles, five tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Many thought after the departure of Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, and Clelin Ferrell that Huggins would have a breakout senior season this year.
When the “Power Rangers” announced their return, especially Wilkins’, it caused Huggins to ponder transferring and playing his senior season elsewhere.
“At one point I wasn’t as sure about what to do,” he said. “But, after being patient, praying, and talking to my family now I know I’m at the right place and everything is working out.”
Clemson head Coach Dabo Swinney is glad Huggins returned for his final season and thinks he is destined for an exceptional year.
“You got Huggins, Dexter and Christian inside and Albert is a guy where the light has come on for him. I think he is fixing to have a great year,” Swinney said. “I hope and pray he can stay healthy because I think he has a chance to really be the guy we all thought he could be.”
Huggins (6-3, 310) weighed in five pounds heavier than last year and has improved both his body and physicality according to the Tigers’ head coach.
“He was not as mature as he needed to be early on, but I think the light has come on for him,” said Swinney. “He is strong. Oh my Lord! He is one of the top two or three strongest kids on the team.”
As for Huggins, he is just focusing on continuing to better himself and enjoying every second he has with his teammates, but he does appreciate the kind words from his coach.
“That’s a huge compliment. I’m just happy I’m in the spot that I am right now,” Huggins said. “I am ready to see what can happen, I’m digging into my talent and working hard with my head down.”
Huggins sees the improvement in his game after just one practice and is looking forward to continuing in the right direction.
“I’m older, wiser, more physical. I want to go out with a mentality of being physical and giving effort,” he said.