Although second-ranked Clemson has the best defensive line in the country, its secondary must step up as well if the Tigers are looking to make it back to the National Championship.
One player who is ready to take on the responsibility of leading the secondary is cornerback Trayvon Mullen.
The junior is going to take what he learned from the older guys during his first two seasons and now apply it to himself as he starts a new year.
“It’s interesting,” he said, “just thinking back when I was in those shoes with a lot of older guys and how I looked up to the older guys and just watched them compete and work hard in the meeting room and get better, it just helped my role even better trying to help them. They helped me compete at a higher level as well.”
Mullen, who had 42 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass breakups in 217, feels he has made improvements on several different aspects of his game, but specifically his knowledge.
“My knowledge,” he said. “Listening to Coach (Venables) and Coach Reid, paying attention in the film carries over to the field. Once you know what to do… just knowing what to do is going to put you in a lot of positions to make plays.”
Although Mullen feels like his knowledge has improved he understands there are still other areas he needs to step up in and will continue to work on that throughout the rest of fall camp and into the season.
“Just knowing what to do, knowing how to do it, when to do it,” Mullen said. “A lot of things technique wise, zone coverage and just having the mindset of, ‘I’m going to win every play.’ Just out-competing everybody.”
If Mullen does have a strong season this year, it could potentially be his last at Clemson as he will have an opportunity to move on to the NFL. However, that is not something he is focused on right now.
“I mean, I’m sure (it’s a goal), but that’s not really my focus,” he said. “I’m just trying to get better right now where I’m at. Just help the younger guys, just compete each week and try to be my best. If it does happen, it happens.”