Before the season started, everyone wondered about Clemson’s defense. The second-ranked Tigers lost seven starters from last year’s unit which led the nation in scoring defense and ranked fourth in total defense.
The narrative was how could the defense be effective with so many stars like Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant all playing in the NFL. But so far, through the first five games, the Clemson defense is again one of the best in the country.
The Tigers (5-0, 3-0 ACC) have not allowed an opponent to reach 300 yards of total offense, while they are allowing just 12 points and 255.5 yards per game overall.
“We knew we were going to get that, seeing those guys leaving, we knew were going to get that all of our good guys are gone. All of the better guys are gone, but we never paid attention to that. We wanted to be our own legacy,” defensive tackle Jordan Williams said. “So, we have just focused on ourselves and try to improve every day. We are never going to be satisfied.
“We have been playing well, but we want to continue to perform and play better every week.”
Three times this year, Clemson has had a goal line stand kind of play, including last week’s stop of a 2-point conversion which could have given North Carolina the lead with 1:17 to play.
So far this year’s defense is living up to the standard that has allowed Clemson to have a top 10 defense in each of the last five seasons.
“Obviously, there was pressure trying to live up to what those guys did. We are not focused on that, we are just really focused on us and making ourselves better,” Williams said.
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