Clemson linebacker Tre Lamar was a big contributor to the Tigers’ defense throughout the first half of the 2017 campaign. After a relatively quiet freshman season the linebacker burst onto the scene racking up 52 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, four sacks, three quarterback pressures, a pass breakup, a forced fumble, and a recovered fumble.
The junior started eight games for the Tigers last season before dealing with ongoing problems in his shoulder keeping him out of the last four games of the season, including the ACC Championship Game and College Football Playoff.
Following the first team scrimmage Saturday, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said if the season kicked off now Lamar would start at middle linebacker and the junior says he feels better than he has in a long time.
“I definitely do (feel 100 percent), I feel like I’ve been improving all the time so right now I feel even better than I did yesterday or the day before,” Lamar said. “In the spring I knew once I started going full go and hitting pretty hard that I was back and ready.”
Sitting out the ACC Championship and Sugar Bowl games was difficult for Lamar, but he admits that it was the best decision for his health and is itching to get back on the field this season.
“I wanted to go in the post season, but they kept me out and that was a good decision because you don’t want something to come back and hurt you more,” Lamar said. “It was very frustrating not having an exact time table but to be over it now I feel great.”
This season, Lamar is approaching things differently with an improved focus on his health, “I’m coming out with a whole new energy and mindset to go and have a better year,” he said. “I am putting a lot of emphasis on my recovery and trying to stay healthy this season.”
Toward the end of last season, when Lamar and Kendall Joseph were battling injuries depth became a bit of an issue for the Clemson defense. Lamar does not see competition as an issue but rather an advantage and opportunity for more depth down the stretch.
“It’s great, it’s a long season and we need depth, we have a lot of depth at the linebacker position,” Lamar said. “It is great for us to not have the physical strain of only a few guys at our position.”
That depth is going to make a big difference as the Tigers seek a fourth consecutive College Football Playoff berth and Lamar knows that.
“We are going to be fresh and have good legs, that will make a big difference come January,” he said.