CHARLOTTE — There were a lot of people that were surprised Tanner Muse elected to return for his final season at Clemson. The fifth-year player already had his degree. He has already been a part of two national championship teams.
What else could he possibly need out of college.
“Yeah, just felt like I had a bunch of unfinished business at Clemson,” he said during Wednesday’s ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte. “I had a really successful year, but I just felt like I didn’t hit on everything I should have hit on. I got a lot of work to do in my game. I got a lot of things that I can get better at.”
Last year, Muse ranked fourth on the team with 74 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and 5 passes broken up. He also had two interceptions. Now, he is ready to improve on those numbers this year.
“I’m super excited just having to get through this work through this summer and spring ball,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. Just really finish as much as I can get out of Clemson as I can. It’s a great place to be. I love living there. I love everything about it. I love being around my teammates, the coaching staff. Just really enjoying it for another year. It’s been so much fun this year. I look forward to the season.”
In particular, Muse looks forward to proving the doubters wrong. The Clemson secondary took a lot of grief following last year’s 21-point win over South Carolina. Though the Tigers still won quite comfortably, Gamecocks’ quarterback Jake Bentley threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns.
Though the unit bounced back and had good games against Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship game and Notre Dame and Alabama in the College Football Playoff, analyst still point to the South Carolina and Texas A&M games when talking about the quality of play in Clemson’s secondary.
“We got a bunch of things said about us after the South Carolina game,” Muse said. “I thought we really proved ourselves against Pittsburgh. I think we kept them under a hundred yards passing, which is unheard of, in a championship-type game. That was really satisfying as a team. Building that into the Playoffs, doing what we did, a lot of guys coming out, having their come-out party, like Nolan Turner making that pick against Notre Dame.
“That was huge for him, it’s been a confidence booster, putting different packages in. We really had all four of our safeties out on the field at the same time. That’s just a big thing for us, just being able to have pride in our unit, just understanding that it’s not about what the outside media is talking about, it’s about what we have in our team.”
Muse feels the Tigers have each other. If there is a problem, they can handle it. The outside noise does not bother them.
“I’ve been a leader by what I’ve done, by my actions and things like that. This year I really got to take that vocal role,” he said. “That’s really important for the team to see somebody step up and say something for the team.
“That’s what we really need as a defense. I’m going to do the best that I can. I know we have a lot of other guys on our defensive eleven that step up. K’Von (Wallace), Isaiah (Simmons), A.J.(Terrell), a few other guys that I’m missing. We all got to work as a team and as a defense to really be vocal, to lead these young guys to another successful season.”