Clemson Football: LB James Skalski’s performance is underrated

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 10: Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables of the Clemson Tigers calls out a play during the game against the Troy Trojans at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 10: Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables of the Clemson Tigers calls out a play during the game against the Troy Trojans at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images) /
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Clemson football LB James Skalski is playing at a high level, but many are overlooking what he has accomplished as a leader on the Tiger defense.

James Skalski has had an impressive run through the first seven games of the 2019 Clemson football season.

The Clemson football coaching staff intentionally redshirted Skalski during his junior season last year to give him an extra year of eligibility and two years to compete for a starting position at linebacker.

It wasn’t long into the spring that the Tigers knew what they had in Skalski.

Through the first seven games of the 2019 season, Skalski has 39 total tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery. He is second on the team in tackles, only behind Isaiah Simmons.

Over the course of this year, Clemson football fans have seen Skalski grow up and develop into an elite linebacker. He has done an excellent job coming up in run-support and also being able to provide pressure on the quarterback and drop back into coverage.

In many ways, Skalski plays similar to Ben Boulware– a favorite among the Tiger faithful.

He is a head-hunter and is physical at the point of attack. One of the differences between Boulware and Skalski, though, is his athletic ability. There were times where Boulware was out of position or wasn’t quite fast enough to keep up with his defender. That isn’t the case with Skalski.

He has been a leader for a Clemson defense that is ranked No. 5 in the nation and has only gotten better over the first part of this season.

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Even though Skalski has been an instrumental part of the reloaded nature of the Clemson football defense, he doesn’t get near the credit that he deserves. These past two games, Skalski has been all over the field and has been a great complement to Simmons in that linebacker core. Right now, there’s no reason to believe that the Tigers’ linebacker group won’t be among the best in the country and much of that is because of the play of James Skalski.

Don’t overlook No. 47 and the special season he is putting together, Tiger fans.