Before donning the purple and orange, Jeremiah Trotter Jr. had already started making a name for himself.
Trotter was one of the most coveted recruits in the 2021 recruiting cycle coming out of St. Joseph’s (Pennsylvania) Prep. Ranked the nation’s top linebacker prospect and No. 7 overall recruit by ESPN, Trotter had his pick of colleges when it came to continuing his football career.
But not many had a realistic chance at him after he visited Clemson for a camp during his junior season. Trotter committed to the Tigers later in 2019, citing the program’s culture and values as the primary reasons he pulled the trigger for Clemson and never wavered for more than a year before he could sign his National Letter of Intent.
“They had a lot of stuff that I was looking for as far as a brotherhood,” Trotter said. “Everybody is helping each other out. As soon as I got here, (senior linebacker) James Skalski, he helped me learn the playbook. And (fellow linebacker) Baylon Spector. They’re helping me out.
“Then just the coaches. They love their players. They really care about their players whether you’re a walk-on or the starter. They’re going to show the same interest to you and make sure you’re handling your business.”
Trotter also has another resource that’s not privy to everyone.
If Trotter’s name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s one football fans have heard plenty of times before. Trotter’s father, Jeremiah Trotter Sr., played the same position in the NFL for 12 years, most of those with the Philadelphia Eagles, and was a four-time Pro Bowler before retiring following the 2009 season.
The younger Trotter said his dad stayed in the background of his career when it came to pushing him to play football and coaching him once he decided he wanted to. And other than “some tips on what to look for and whatnot,” Trotter said his dad didn’t get all that involved in his recruitment.
“He let me decide on where I wanted to go,” Trotter said.
But Trotter said his father still gives him on-field pointers here and there that he tries to incorporate into his game. The younger Trotter debuted for the Tigers as a special-teams contributor against Georgia before getting his first meaningful defensive snaps last week.
Trotter tied for the team lead with five tackles and notched his first collegiate sack in Clemson’s 49-3 pasting of South Carolina State. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the game comes naturally to his freshman linebacker, which isn’t a surprise given Trotter’s football bloodlines.
But there’s still plenty for the youngster to learn as he goes through his first season of college football, which is why he’d be foolish not to listen to advice from a father who racked up 914 tackles at the highest level of the sport.
“I try to listen to him, too, because I know what he’s done and what he’s accomplished,” Trotter said. “I try to take that all in.
“It feels great to be able to ask questions and get tips small tips that not everybody has access to, and I try to soak it all up and just try to use it out there on the field wherever I need to.”
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!