Clemson Football: Young players will benefit most from returning veterans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Jalen Hurts /

Clemson football managed to keep four sure-fire NFL draftees in school for one more year. While these players will surely have an impact on the field, their biggest contribution will come off of the field.

Going into the offseason, majority of people expected Clemson to lose at least one defensive lineman to the NFL draft. The Tigers had three prospects along the defensive front that would have likely been off of the board by the third round.

In what is the biggest story-line of offseason thus far, all of Clemson’s draft eligible defensive lineman decided to stay in school for one more season.

Best Ever?

Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant have the potential to be considered as the best defensive line in the history of college football.

Be that as it may, the four of them must earn that designation through their play next season.


As dominant as the four of them can be on the field together, their biggest impact will come in leading the Tigers’ younger talent.

Already on the roster are guys such as, Nyles Pinckney, Xavier Kelly, Justin Foster, Jordan Williams and Albert Huggins. Not to mention incoming freshman, Xavier Thomas, KJ Henry, Josh Belk, Justin Mascoll and Darnell Jefferies.

Clearly depth is not an issue for Clemson. That being said, it takes veterans such as Wilkins and Ferrell to teach these younger players what it takes to succeed on the collegiate level.

Whether it be film study, offseason lifts or on the field technique, Clemson’s veterans have a world of information they can impart on the younger players on the roster.

Scary depth

Facing Clemson’s starters is hard enough for opponents. Facing the Tigers’ backups – who are good enough to start just about anywhere else in the country – is downright unfair.

Opposing offensive lineman won’t be able to catch their breath in 2018. Wilkins and company will wear opponents down, and then sub-out for a fresh, former bluechip recruit such as Pinckney or Thomas.

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Wilkins, Lawrence, Ferrell and Bryant have the talent and character to leave a long lasting mark on not only Clemson football, but, college football as a whole. Once they are gone, their young proteges will continue to wreak havoc in their honor.