Swinney: Trotter Jr. ‘as good a linebacker prospect as we’ve signed’

Swinney: Trotter Jr. ‘as good a linebacker prospect as we’ve signed’

Football

Swinney: Trotter Jr. ‘as good a linebacker prospect as we’ve signed’

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Clemson has signed plenty of standout linebackers during Dabo Swinney’s tenure as Clemson’s head coach, including guys like Stephone Anthony, B.J. Goodson, Tony Steward, Dorian O’Daniel and Ben Boulware, to name some.

So, the fact that Swinney believes his newest linebacker signee – Jeremiah Trotter Jr. – is as good of a player as the Tigers have signed at his position, is certainly saying something.

Trotter Jr., a five-star prospect per ESPN from Philadelphia Catholic League power St. Joseph’s Prep, inked with Clemson as part of its 2021 class when college football’s early signing period began on Dec. 16.

“Great, great player,” Swinney said during Clemson Football’s National Signing Day Show at the Reeves Football Complex. “Awesome school. Comes from great bloodlines. We all remember his dad. But this is as good a linebacker prospect as we’ve signed. He can do it all. Unbelievable family, and super excited to get him.”

Trotter Jr.’s father, Jeremiah Trotter, played 12 seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being drafted by the Eagles in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Stephen F. Austin. The two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2016.

Clemson defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables says Trotter Jr. – the top-ranked linebacker and No. 7 overall prospect in the 2021 class according to ESPN – is “what you want in a prototypical linebacker.”

“Probably his best attribute is just his play diagnosis,” Venables said during Clemson’s signing day show. “His instincts are very natural. Can really strike, can run, can play in space. Excellent instincts as far as blitzing, and he’s all about business.”

Venables said his nickname for Trotter Jr. is the “Quiet Assassin,” and he foresees him making a quick transition from the prep level to big-time Power Five football.

“He really has got a great disposition to him,” Venables said. “Very focused young man, very driven. Excellent student. Just very disciplined in everything that he does. He’s not in any riffraff whatsoever. He’s all business. He came to the Texas A&M game a couple years ago and committed in the locker room afterwards after having come to camp the previous summer. Love his family. He’s got a little brother that’s a monster. He’s the next great one. But comes from a terrific program… and has played with elite competition. Again, elite academics. He’ll transition really fast.”

Trotter Jr., who helped St. Joseph’s win two straight 6A state championships, including one in 2020, became the third commitment in Clemson’s 2021 class when he gave his verbal pledge to the Tigers on Sept. 7, 2019.

“He was one of the very first commits,” Swinney said. “He’s been a young man in camp and one of the first guys that said hey, ‘I’m coming to Clemson.’ Could have gone anywhere in the country, and not only did he commit early, he became a leader in this class and stayed the course all the way through.”

He’s really taken on a leadership role in this class and extended branches to the rest of the class,” Venables added. “So, these guys are coming in already very close to one another.”

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