Former Clemson defender's stellar play has him in exclusive NFL company

Former Clemson defender's stellar play has him in exclusive NFL company

Football

Former Clemson defender's stellar play has him in exclusive NFL company

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A former Clemson star defender has put himself in exclusive company with his stellar play thus far during his second NFL season.

Linebacker Isaiah Simmons is showing why the Arizona Cardinals made him their first-round pick last year, selecting him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

In nine games this season, Simmons has posted 58 tackles, four passes defensed, an interception, three forced fumbles, two tackles for loss and a half sack while helping the Cardinals to the NFL’s best record at 8-1.

According to the Cardinals’ official Twitter account, Simmons is one of only two NFL players this season with 50-plus tackles, three-plus forced fumbles and four-plus passes defensed.

The other is fourth-year Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, a two-time first-team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler.

Simmons concluded his Clemson career (2016-19) with 253 tackles (28.5 for loss), 10.5 sacks, 22 pass breakups, four interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown), five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery over 44 games (29 starts).

The Kansas native won the 2019 Butkus Award, becoming the first Clemson player in the award’s 35-year history to earn the honor presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker. He also became the sixth unanimous All-American in school history in 2019, joining Terry Kinard (1982), Gaines Adams (2006), C.J. Spiller (2009), Da’Quan Bowers (2010) and Christian Wilkins (2018).

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