Clemson returns a downright nasty defensive front for the 2021 season with a plethora of starting experience at all four positions on the line.
That nastiness showed in the Tigers’ first scrimmage as the defense held an upper hand on Saturday at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility.
Defensive end Myles Murphy explained how special it is to look around and see so much experience and veteran presence in one position group.
“Oh yeah I do that all the time honestly with five returning starters in the defensive line group,” Murphy said. “It was really fun today because everyone stood out today me, Xavier Thomas, Justin Mascoll and Justin Foster.”
Murphy received Freshman All-American honors from The Athletic, ESPN, Rivals and the Football Writers Association of America for his performance on the field last season. He recorded 51 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and a pass breakup in 12 games and six starts as he led the Tigers in tackles for loss with 12.
The sophomore also credited the defensive tackle group spearheaded by Tyler Davis for a breakthrough performance on Saturday.
“Everyone stood out and did what they needed to and got the job done,” Murphy said. “We were in the backfield on a whole bunch of different plays. And as far as the defensive tackle room Bryan Bresee, Darnell Jeffries, Ruke Orhorhoro, Tré Williams, everybody stood out today.”
According to Murphy the wealth of talent and experience across the Clemson defense provides a safety net and allows him to play free and stick to his assignments.
He pointed out the importance of James Skalski’s and Nolan Turner’s decisions to take advantage of a sixth year of eligibility because of the knowledge they bring to the table in game action.
“I feel like there is a huge safety net having James Skalski and Nolan Turner even with all the veteran defensive linemen I’m playing beside,” Murphy said. “It’s such a huge safety net I have in my head because they know the tendencies of different teams, how the offense wants to play, what they want to do whether it’s a screen pass or down run or whatever.”
“Skalski and those guys have it down pact and they did last year so another year just gives us another advantage,” he said.