2020 Clemson football Over/Under: 120 tackles for loss

James Skalski Clemson Tigers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
James Skalski Clemson Tigers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Clemson football defense has been the most dominant in college football for the last several years.

Non-Clemson football fans can argue among themselves where they believe the Tigers belong among the great teams in college football. The Tigers don’t control the strength of their opponents or the opinions that people place among them.

What we do know is that Clemson has played more Top 25 offenses over the last three seasons than any other team consistently ranked in the Top 10 and has beaten all but one of them. That much is not arguable, it’s factual.

Seemingly every season, the Clemson football defense is rebuilding a part of its defense. Three years ago it was the secondary, last year it was the defensive line and in 2020 it will be the back seven of the defense.

Yet despite all of the questions that defensive coordinator Brent Venables has to answer entering every season, his defense rises to the occasion and delivers big time. Since his arrival to Clemson, the Tigers have been the best team in the country when it comes to tackles for loss.

When it comes to tackles for the loss, the Tigers had 109 in 2017, 136 in 2018, and 119 in 2019. The question becomes, what is realistic for the 2020 season after losing players like Isaiah Simmons, Chad Smith, and A.J. Terrell?

Can Clemson football reach 120 tackles for loss in 2020?

Setting the bar at 120 tackles for loss seems like a really good number to strive for. During the second national championship run under Coach Dabo Swinney in 2018, they totaled 136. Granted that team had three first-round defensive linemen on it but the 2020 version will be a lot deeper and could be just as talented.

The Tigers will bring back several players such as Tyler Davis, Justin Foster, Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry, James Skalski, and add highly talented freshman Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, Trenton Simpson, Sergio Allen, and Kevin Swint.

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Given the mix of returning talent and the high level of freshmen coming in, the 2020 version of the Clemson defense should be its best yet, and reaching 120 tackles for loss in 2020 should be attainable.