Nick Eason: Can he maximize the Clemson defensive line product on the field?
Eason has been a bona fide home run hire for Swinney. He is an alum who played in the NFL and then coached in the NFL. His players heaped praise on him for his coaching. He immediately made an impact on the recruiting trail.
He’s also led by example. This past year he took it upon himself to get into better physical shape and lost a bunch of weight. He looks fantastic and happy.
There is only one thing that you can point at right now critically: the product on the field in 2022 didn’t live up to expectations. In all fairness, they were very high expectations. Probably too high, in hindsight.
As noted before, Bresee never had a chance to fulfill his potential because of injury, illness, and family tragedy. Tyler Davis was again impacted by injuries. Eason dealt with personal tragedy himself with the passing of his grandmother and a personal friend in 2022.
The defensive line was pretty good last year, but they were far from great, and it wasn’t just Clemson fans who thought they would be great. Nationally the Tigers were considered one of the best two defensive line units going into the 2022 season.
Even though Bresee, Myles Murphy, and KJ Henry have moved on, there is a quiet confidence that this line can be even better than last season. If it is just a matter of getting past some bad luck for Eason’s unit to excel, then this could be the season his influence shines through.