The Clemson football linebacker group will have to replace two starters from last year’s team. Here’s our pre-spring analysis for the position.
The 2020 Clemson football team is considered one of the favorites to win the National Championship, but that doesn’t mean that the Tigers don’t have any question marks heading into the season.
Simmons may very well be the most versatile and athletic linebacker to ever play in the Clemson football program and is projected to be a top-10 pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
With those two gone, it’s clear that there will be plenty of competition at the position. Here’s a look at our pre-spring depth chart projection and analysis for the linebacker position.
Spring Depth Chart Projection:
SAM/NICKEL- Mike Jones Jr.
MIKE- James Skalski
WILL- Baylon Spector
In addition to those listed on the depth chart, Bryton Constantin was expected to return from injury and could have been a factor but he announced on twitter that he has torn his ACL for the third time and is having surgery next week. Incoming freshmen Sergio Allen (4-star) and Kevin Swint (4-star) but it’s unclear where they will fall as of right now.
The guys who will be given the first shot at earning starter spots will be Mike Jones Jr. (SAM), returning starter James Skalski (MIKE) and Baylon Spector (WILL). Expect Spector to be in a position battle with Jake Venables, though, he could play WILL or move over to MIKE if needed.
True freshman Trenton Simpson is going to have a great opportunity to challenge for playing time and his versatility and athleticism make him the perfect option for that SAM/NICKEL position.
Before it’s all said and done, I think Simpson will earn the second-string spot behind Jones Jr. and find himself on the field quite a bit at the position.