Williams expects Clemson’s D-line to be older, wiser … and better in 2020

Williams expects Clemson’s D-line to be older, wiser … and better in 2020


Williams expects Clemson’s D-line to be older, wiser … and better in 2020


Defensive tackle Jordan Williams isn’t sure what Clemson’s defensive line will look like in 2020, but he does know this … they will be better.

Though Clemson once again led the ACC in scoring and total defense in 2019, it was not as dominant up front as it had been the previous four seasons. No Clemson defensive linemen had more than 5.5 sacks, which was defensive tackle Tyler Davis’. Justin Foster led the way in tackles for loss with 10.5.

Though those were good numbers, they weren’t dominant numbers like the ones Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant had put up the previous three seasons.

“We are going to just keep working and trying to improve,” Williams said. “The thing that is different from last year is that we are all a year older, so we have guys that are stepping up that know they have to grow up and we are just a year older than last year.

“I don’t know if we are better than we were last year, but that is what we are working for and we want to keep improving.”

With the editions of freshmen Bryan Bresee, DeMonte Capehart and Myles Murphy, the defensive front is already better, at least from an overall depth and talent standpoint.

“They are very exciting to watch,” Williams said. “They are explosive guys who are still learning things, but you can tell they are going to get it and when they do, it is going to be fun to see.

“Everybody wants to make each other great. People are competing each and every day, but it is a good competitive edge everybody has. Nobody is out here trying to hurt anybody or anything like that. Everybody is trying to make each other better, so it had been a good spring.”

As for Williams, he said he got better, too. Last year, the 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive tackle could not practice in the spring due to a knee injury he suffered while playing intramural basketball. Though the Tigers got just nine practices in this spring before the COVID-19 pandemic shut practices down, Williams made the most of his time on the practice fields.

“It feels good to be able to get that technical thing and opposed to getting in there and going non-stop like it is in [fall] camp, kind of. But it is going pretty well,” he said. “I am just focusing on the things I struggle with the most. I am just taking my time to get better each day and focusing on being better at something different.”

“It is super important. Last year, I had to take on a different kind of role, more as a coach or a student of the game and had to watch more and look at it from a different angle,” he continued. “Now, that I was able to look at those things and adjust to them last season, I have more knowledge this spring to focus on the little things that can help me be a better player.”

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