The Clemson football defense was absolutely dominant in 2018. Part of the reason for the Tigers success was the constant pass-rush being created by the defensive ends.
The Clemson football team came away with its second National Championship in the last three years with a 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide a little over a week ago.
With the win, the Tigers finished the 2018 season with a perfect 15-0 record.
It was a magical year and the success, without a doubt, was partly due to the dominant defensive effort that Clemson was able to put on the field week in and week out.
As part of reviewing the 2018 season, we’ve given our grades for each positional unit. Today, we move to the defensive side of the ball and start with the defensive ends.
Defensive Ends Report Card:
You really couldn’t have asked for much more out of the defensive ends.
Clelin Ferrell finished the year with a team-high 11.5 sacks and Austin Bryant was second with 8.5. Backup Xavier Thomas also had 3.5 sacks and Justin Foster had two.
That means this unit’s two-deep combined for 25.5 sacks over the course of the season. That’s dominance.
Ferrell’s performance pushed him into the first-round of the NFL Draft. Austin Bryant is a mid-rounder. Both of those guys continued to perform at high levels this season and, without a doubt, upped their draft stock with what they were able to do with Clemson football.
This group was also exceptionally deep.
With a guy like Xavier Thomas coming off the bench, the Tigers certainly had weapons to spare in the pass-rush.
In addition to creating pressure on the quarterback, the defensive ends did a great job setting the edges and forcing the runs back inside. It’s something that veterans learn to do and you could clearly tell that both Ferrell and Bryant had the experience and talent necessary to take care of their opponents.
Overall Grade: A+