It took a little while for Dorian O’Daniel to get where Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables wanted him to be both physically and mentally in his defensive scheme. But once O’Daniel got there, he excelled in Venables’ defense.
O’Daniel became a First-Team All-American, according to Sports Illustrated, in 2017, as well as a second team pick by the Associated Press and the Football Coaches Association.
A finalist for the Dick Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, O’Daniel was unstoppable during his senior season at Clemson. He tallied 104 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He also had two interceptions, returning both for touchdowns in the Tigers’ road wins at No. 14 Louisville and at No. 12 Virginia Tech. O’Daniel also added six quarterback pressures and broke up three more passes, while leading Clemson to a third straight ACC Championship and a third straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.
A two-year starter, O’Daniel played a big role in Clemson’s national championship season in 2016. He recorded 60 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks at his hybrid linebacker position. He also added one interception, broke another pass and had six quarterback pressures.
O’Daniel was the first to redefine the strongside linebacker position at Clemson, showing the potential of what the position can do for a future star and All-American in Isaiah Simmons.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, O’Daniel was picked by the Kanas City Chiefs in the third round with the 100th selection overall. This past season, O’Daniel was a part of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl Championship team. He was a reserve linebacker and started on special teams.
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