Clemson starting left tackle Jackson Carman feels “it’s fate” that he will have the chance to compete against his home team in a big-time game.
The Fairfield, Ohio native spurned Ohio State when he chose to sign with Clemson on Dec. 20, 2017.
Two years later, Carman will have a chance to stick it to the Buckeyes again when they battle the Tigers in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl next Saturday.
“I just had a feeling whenever I came here that we’re definitely going to play them sometime, like even before I got on campus,” Carman said this week. “But it’s happening.”
Carman personally knows a lot of people on Ohio State’s squad, including one player he figures to be pitted against often during the playoff game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona – star defensive end and Heisman Trophy finalist Chase Young.
“We’ve met a couple times,” Carman said. “Just when I was a recruit going to Ohio State and stuff like that.”
Carman is excited for the challenge of lining up across from Young, who leads the country with 16.5 sacks and also paces the nation with 21.0 tackles for loss.
“I’ve watched Chase since before I even got to college,” Carman said. “I’ve been watching him his whole career. He’s an amazing player who I’ve looked up to in some ways, just the way he goes about doing things. I’m really excited to go up against him because, you know, he’s the best, so who doesn’t want to go against the best.”
While Clemson may not be able to shut down Young completely, Carman and the Tigers have a plan for how they can slow him down.
“We just have to play within our scheme and not get outside of what we do,” Carman said. “From an individual standpoint, basically if you just go at him and just run at him and try to throw a super hard punch at him, he’s going to take your hands and you’re gone. So, you’ve got to sit back and be patient with him, let him come to you, and then just try and take up as much space as possible when he gets to you.”
Carman has watched plenty of film on Young and thought Penn State’s Rasheed Walker did a good job squaring off against him, though Young still posted three sacks and four tackles for loss in Ohio State’s 28-17 win over the Nittany Lions on Nov. 23.
“I thought my friend, Rasheed Walker from Penn State, did a pretty good job,” Carman said. “He was my roommate at The Opening, and he did a pretty good job going against him during that matchup.”
Carman believes the test of facing Young will not be too much for him, considering he went up against guys like Oakland Raiders first-round draft pick Clelin Ferrell in practice on a daily basis last year.
“I’ve gone against the greatest competition my whole life, so this is just the next step for me,” he said. “I went against the No. 4 overall draft pick every day last year and I go against future first-round picks here every day. So, I’ve just got to go do my job.”
Young has become a household name with his ability to wreak havoc on opposing offenses, and college football fans across the country know who he is.
So, Carman is looking at this matchup as a chance to make a name for himself, too, when the spotlight is bright.
“I believe so, because this is the best player on the biggest stage,” Carman said. “So, obviously that’s going to be an opportunity for whoever gets to go against him.”
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