These ACC analysts are very high on Clemson junior linebacker Trenton Simpson entering the 2022 season.
In fact, ACC Network analysts Eric Mac Lain and Mark Richt went so far as to say during The ACC Huddle: Season Preview on ACCN recently that they believe Simpson will win the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
“Man, so many great candidates,” Mac Lain said. “You look at all those linebackers over at NC State, then you look at some DBs that have really made some noise. I’m going linebacker, in South Carolina – Clemson. I think Trenton Simpson is going to absolutely take this league by storm. He’s moving back into the box, where I think he can be right up on that line of scrimmage, he can be very aggressive. He’s going to make some noise for the Tigers, I think enough to be the Defensive Player of the Year.”
Richt agreed with Mac Lain about the Defensive Player of the Year prediction for Simpson, who is transitioning inside the box for his junior season after tallying 78 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and six sacks as a sophomore in 2021.
“I’ve been on Clemson’s campus, I’m convinced they’ll have the best defense in the league without a doubt,” Richt said. “I believe they have the best team in the league without a doubt, and they’re going to have the best middle linebacker, Trenton Simpson. I’m going to agree with E-Mac on that one.”
Simpson, widely projected as a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft, enters 2022 credited with 110 tackles (18.5 for loss), 10.0 sacks, three pass breakups and a forced fumble in 827 snaps over 25 games (15 starts) in his first two years as a Tiger.
One of the most athletic players on Clemson’s roster and a former five-star prospect, Simpson was an All-ACC selection by PFF (second team) and Phil Steele (third team) last season.