How do you rank the 25 most important players on a squad’s roster?
It is not easy. However, I rank them based on their past performance, experience and who is behind them on the depth chart, as well as their level of talent.
Here is my ranking of the 25 most important players on Clemson’s 2020 football roster. Here is No. 13 on the list.
No. 13: Justin Foster
Position: Defensive end
Bio: Foster was an honorable mention on the All-ACC team after he tallied 41 tackles while starting 13 of the 15 games he played. Foster finished second behind All-American Isaiah Simmons in tackles for loss with 10.5. His 4.5 sacks ranked third on a defense that finished third nationally in points allowed at 13.5 points per game. The defensive end also had 12 quarterback pressures, which ranked second behind Simmons as well.
Why No. 13: The Shelby, N.C., native was perhaps the most unappreciated player on the Clemson defense last year. The senior had one of the best seasons on the nationally ranked defense. He had more tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and quarterback pressures than fellow defensive end Xavier Thomas. He had more tackles for loss and quarterback pressures than defensive tackle Tyler Davis. It can be argued Foster had an All-ACC caliber season, but he flew under the radar. All everyone wanted to talk about was how Thomas did not live up to his potential or how great Davis was. In the Tigers’ Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, Foster had one of the best games of his career. The 6-foot-2, 265-pound defensive end lived in the Buckeyes’ backfield most of the night. He harassed quarterback Justin Fields, while recording a half sack and 1.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He finished the game with five tackles. Foster also had a sack in the CFP National Championship Game against LSU.
They said it: “I wanted to see all of those guys who played last year to come back in a different place [this past spring]. And they did. All of those guys, from Foster to Xavier Thomas, K.J. [Henry], [Justin] Mascoll, those four guys there … they look the part now.”
25 most important Clemson Tigers of 2020:
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