ESPN analyst: Clemson D projected to be nation's best in coming years

ESPN analyst: Clemson D projected to be nation's best in coming years

Football

ESPN analyst: Clemson D projected to be nation's best in coming years

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The four-letter network sees a very bright future ahead for Clemson’s defense.

ESPN released its future defense power rankings on Wednesday, forecasting the top 25 defenses in college football over the next three seasons (2021, 2022 and 2023).

Clemson checks in at No. 1 on the list, followed by Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and Ohio State, respectively. The power rankings are based on a number of different factors, including current rosters, future recruiting, potential NFL departures and non-senior depth, among other things.

Here is some of what ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg wrote about the Tigers’ defense and its future outlook in his article:

“Clemson’s defense wasn’t quite as dominant in 2020, but the unit sets up well to meet the elite standard displayed throughout coordinator Brent Venables’ tenure. Defensive line has become one of Clemson’s signature position groups and will remain so as Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee log at least two more seasons in Death Valley. … Veteran linebackers James Skalski (210 tackles, 25 starts) and Baylon Spector (125 tackles) lead a linebacker group that saw Mike Jones Jr. transfer but still has enough depth, especially with how often Clemson plays nickel.

“A veteran secondary seeks an upgrade after struggling in the CFP semifinal loss to Ohio State. Like Skalski, safety Nolan Turner is back for a sixth season to lead the group (190 tackles, six interceptions in 55 games) and forms a solid tandem with Lannden Zanders. Clemson loses top cornerback Derion Kendrick, but Andrew Booth Jr., Sheridan Jones and Mario Goodrich all started games in 2020.”

Rittenberg also noted that Clemson’s 2021 recruiting class includes three top-100 defensive prospects according to ESPN (linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., defensive tackle Payton Page and defensive end Cade Denhoff) and seven total ESPN 300 defenders.

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