Isaiah Simmons led Clemson in tackles last season with 89. He led all the linebackers in tackles for loss with 9.5. He had 1.5 sacks.
He also led the Tigers in broken up passes with six. He had one interception, which he returned for a touchdown and he tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles.
Without a doubt, Simmons was the best weapon on a Clemson defense that led the nation in scoring defense and ranked in the top 5 in total defense and rushing defense.
However, despite all of his good works, Simmons did not receive one post-season accolade. He did not even earn an all-conference honorable mention. For all intents and purposes, on a defense filled with big name players like Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant, Simmons was Clemson’s no-name star in 2018.
“It’s not really a big deal, but to me I didn’t make any honorable mentions, first teams, seconds team, or anything,” he said.
It was a big deal for the Tigers’ 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker, who can also play safety and is the team’s nickel guy, too, when they bring in their “nickel” packages. Simmons is used to being the star, not the guy no one talks about.
He admits it got to him, but in a good way.
“Growing up I’ve always been one of the top guys at everything I’ve done, so I took all of that personal,” he said.
Simmons is so driven by it, it played a major role in why he decided to return to Clemson instead of throwing his name into the NFL Draft.
“I wanted to come back and be the most dominant person at my position in the whole country, so there would be no doubt about anything,” the redshirt junior said.
Simmons says he wants to show those doubters who think he can’t cover, or his hips can’t turn or any of those things.
“I wanted to come back and let everyone know there is no doubt.”
The Olathe, Kansas native said he can’t wait to prove to people how good he is and show them how dominant of a player he can be.
“I wanted to come back and be the most dominant person at my position in the whole country,” he said. “I wanted to come back and let everyone know there is no doubt.”
Move over Alabama, Clemson is the new King of College Football. In our new magazine “Little Ole Clemson”: The Best “Little” Dynasty Ever, we examine not just the 2018 team’s run to being “the best ever” but examine the last four seasons and how Dabo Swinney turned Clemson into the new dynasty of college football. We also take a look at the role former athletic director Terry Don Phillips played. We go behind the scenes at the Tigers’ run to a second national championship in three seasons and the previous three national championship runs. It also features stories on the Power Rangers, the 2018 senior class, high quality photos and much, much more.
We are pleased to announce that our latest magazine is ready for order. Get your order in today to make sure you get a copy of this collector’s edition.