What a difference a year makes.
Last offseason, Jackson Carman faced questions as a rising sophomore preparing for the tall task of replacing four-year starter and two-time All-American Mitch Hyatt as Clemson’s starting left tackle.
Now, after starting all 15 games last season while anchoring the left side of the Tigers’ line, Carman is viewed in a different light as an elder statesman heading into his upcoming junior season.
“It’s wild,” Carman said this spring. “I remember as soon as we got back from the natty, I was eating lunch and Coach E (Tony Elliott) walked up to me and was like, ‘You’re a vet now.’ And it just hit me, I was like, ‘Wow.’ So, I’ve been enjoying it, helping everyone and just being there for people and also learning from them. It goes both ways.”
Carman says nothing has really changed for him since last year in terms of his mentality as a player and trying to improve every aspect of his game.
But with four senior starters gone from last season’s offensive line, and a lot of young players within the current O-line unit who will be asked to step up this season, Carman has really made an effort to take up a leadership role.
“I feel the biggest thing that’s different for me is my role as far as leadership and helping all the young guys, helping be a leader on the offense and on the offensive line,” he said. “So, that’s something I’ve been embracing and loving.”
Assessing his own individual performance, Carman was pleased with his first season as a starter in 2019 when he played 798 snaps over 15 games and was a third-team All-ACC selection.
The Fairfield, Ohio, native shared team offensive player of the week honors in helping Clemson to 552 yards of total offense against Florida State in October and later earned an AP All-Bowl selection for his role in limiting Ohio State’s Chase Young in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl.
“I had a good year,” Carman said. “No one’s going to be perfect throughout the year. I felt like as far as my goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the season, I hit those goals as far as me playing an entire season, getting my first start, playing in the national championship, stuff like that. I felt like as the season went on, I learned a lot, and the higher up the mountain per se we go, the better competition got, and I felt like I held my own.”
Get your official Clemson gear right here!