It does not happen often, but when it does, everyone knows when Mitch Hyatt makes a mistake.
“When Mitch makes a mistake, it is like, ‘Mitch!’ You know? I mean you just can’t believe it,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
Luckily for No. 3 Clemson, they don’t have to utter those words too much. Swinney calls Hyatt “Mr. Dependable,” because the coaches know he is always going to get his job done. He has been that way since he first started the first game of the 2015 season as a true freshman.
That year, he became the first true freshman to start his first game on the offensive line since James Farr did the same in 1980. He was also the first true freshman to start at tackle on the offensive line since Phil Prince in 1944.
Hyatt has been the Tigers’ anchor on the left side of the offensive line ever since, and on Saturday when they host No. 15 NC State at Death Valley, he will make his 49th career start, tying Landon Walker and Dalton Freeman for the most career starts, not just on the offensive line, but by any player in Clemson history.
“He is like (Hunter) Renfrow. If Renfrow drops a ball it is like, ‘What just happened?!’ If Mitch gives up a pressure or something like that or has a mental error, it is kind of the same thing. He is just Mr. Dependable,” Swinney said.
Mr. Dependable has helped Clemson’s offensive line have one of its best seasons of all-time through the first half of the season. The Tigers currently rank fourth nationally in rushing offense, running for 280.8 yards per game.
Clemson’s running game also ranks second nationally at 7.0 yards per rush.
“Although, I am very pleased with all of those guys. I think all of those guys have all had some moments where they were not as consistent as the needed to be, but I think they have had some really bright signs as well,” Swinney said. “Mitch, he is the epitome of consistency.”
Saturday’s game will be the 50th career game Hyatt has played in. He will join tight end Milan Richard, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and tight end Cannon Smith as the only active players to appear in 50 games in their careers. Wilkins and Smith will be playing in their 51st game against NC State.
“I think (Hyatt) ties the all-time start record or something for linemen this week,” Swinney said. “Lord willing, he will end up leaving here starting more games and playing more snaps than anyone in the history of the program.”
Currently, Hyatt has played 3,232 snaps in his career, just 130 from breaking Freeman’s record for most snaps as a Clemson player, just another reason why Swinney calls him “Mr. Dependable.”