PHOENIX — When describing the level of excitement Clemson left tackle Jackson Carman has for playing in Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl against No. 2 Ohio State, Dabo Swinney said the Fairfield, Ohio native is “super excited.”
“It’s kind of neat experience when you go against your school … hometown school,” Swinney said after the Tigers’ arrived in Phoenix to play in the College Football Playoff Semifinal. “It’s a neat experience. I’ve experienced it in a different way as a coach, obviously going against Alabama. But I think at the end of the day, when the game kicks off, it’s just about the game.”
Jackson just isn’t excited to be playing the Buckeyes, but he is also anxious to prove himself against one of the best players in the country in Ohio State defensive end Chas Young. The All-American leads the nation in sacks with 16.5 and is tied for fourth with 21 tackles for loss.
Most consider Young a top 5 prospect in April’s NFL Draft, if not the No. 1 pick overall.
“Regardless of who you’re playing, as a competitor, you always get excited to play great players,” Swinney said. “And they have a great defense. They have a great defensive line, not just No. 2. He certainly has earned all of his recognition.”
As a team, the Buckeyes (13-0) lead the nation with 51 sacks. They also lead the nation in tackles for loss with 119. Besides Young, they have great interior guys such as DeVon Hamilton and Jashon Cornell. Tyreke Smith is also a solid defensive end opposite Young.
“I think their entire defensive line is pretty special,” Swinney said. “They’re deep. They’re physical. Those guys come off the ball, penetrate the line of scrimmage. And, again, they have a bunch of guys they roll in there. But certainly No. 2 headlines the way.
“So Tremayne [Anchrum] and Jackson, I’m sure, will have to battle him. Again, he’s a great competitor. We’ve got great competitors and should be a great matchup.”
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