Once again, Clemson will have to replace another All-American upfront. This time it will be defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who was a unanimous first-team selection last year.
Wilkins was more than just a player who racked up a lot of statistics, but he was a three-year starter and a leader on a defense that led the nation in scoring defense, sacks and tackles for loss in 2018. Obviously, filling his roles will not be easy.
Here is a look at Clemson’s potential depth chart at defensive tackle heading into fall camp.
Jordan Williams, So., 6-4, 310: Williams has the potential to be a dominant player at defensive tackle. He is big, fast and athletic. Due to injury, he played in 12 games last year. He finished the year with 11 tackles, including three tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He also had 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble. Williams missed all of spring practice due to a lower leg injury he suffered while playing basketball in January. He is expected to be back by the start of fall camp.
Tyler Davis, Fr., 6-1, 290: With Williams out, Davis made the most of his opportunity. The freshman, who enrolled in school in January, was all the talk in the spring as he garnered comparisons to Wilkins due to his raw athletic ability and his quick understanding of the schemes and his role on defense. Davis was rated as the No. 60 player in the nation by ESPN coming out of high school. He had 34 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2018. He had his best game against West Orange when he had eight tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks. He helped Wekiva High School in Apopka, Florida to an 11-2 record and a top 10 ranking in the state.
Darnell Jefferies, Fr., 6-2, 275: Jefferies got better by the end of spring drills, and though he made some plays and impressed the coaches with his athletic ability, there is a concern with his weight. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said a few times during the spring that Jefferies has to get bigger if he is going to be able to contribute for them this coming season. Jefferies was redshirted last season after playing in just one game against Louisville. In high school, he had 65 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 11 games as a senior. He also played tight end, where he had seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Jefferies was the region Defensive Player of the Year. He was ranked as the No. 22 defensive tackle in Georgia by ESPN. He also had 76 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and 42 quarterback pressures as a junior. He also played basketball and ran track as a junior at Newton High School in Covington, Georgia.