When he looks at the personnel along Clemson’s defensive line and sees the collection of talent beside him, rising sophomore defensive end Myles Murphy can’t help but smile and think about the unit’s potential and how special it has the chance to be this season.
“Oh, for sure, yeah,” Murphy said following the Tigers’ spring practice on Wednesday. “I do that a lot of times.”
“We can be really good,” he added. “We’re showing a lot of smarts. We’re being very consistent. Some days we’ll go under the radar sometimes. But once we get that consistency, that chemistry together, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be consistently showing out every week, every day.”
Murphy earned postseason All-ACC honors last year and was a freshman All-American along with Bryan Bresee, who was the ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-ACC performer.
Besides Bresee and Murphy, the Tigers also welcome back K.J. Henry, Justin Mascoll and Xavier Thomas at defensive end, while 2019 All-ACC defensive tackle Tyler Davis is back after suffering through multiple injuries in 2020.
While head coach Dabo Swinney loves the group of players he has on the D-line, he said this week they were an “inconsistent bunch” in 2020, and Murphy agreed that consistency is a focal point for them this offseason and an area where they need to improve in this season.
“Great names right beside me, that’s cool and all, that’s great,” Murphy said. “But we’ve just got to keep getting better on the defensive line, and really it’s being more consistent. Consistency is probably the most important thing with us.”
Inconsistent as it may have been last season, Clemson’s defensive line was still dominant statistically, leading the nation in sacks and finishing second nationally in tackles for loss as well as second in the ACC in yards per rush allowed in 2020.
Still, despite the productivity on paper, Murphy says the unit knows there is plenty of room to improve and the group is hungry to do just that.
“We’re a great D-line. Of course, everyone can be better,” he said. “We’re going to get better, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
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