CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Ten Most Important Tigers: Linebacker Barrett Carter
Barrett Carter came back to prove a point, and he is a leader on and off the field.

Ten Most Important Tigers: Linebacker Barrett Carter


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We're assembling the ten players key to a Clemson football resurgence this season.

Our list isn’t simply the best ten players on the roster but those who either have big shoes to fill or the potential to launch Clemson into a spot to contend.

On to No. 3 in the countdown, linebacker Barrett Carter:

3) Barrett Carter - Senior (Linebacker)

Grayson Mann

The first of our top three is set to be the face of Clemson’s defense.

Barrett Carter was the first significant piece of news heading early into the 2023 offseason. Carter, who had been mulling a decision to go pro, announced his decision to return to Clemson for one more year with the Tigers.

After the front seven lost several players to the NFL draft, Carter’s decision was a breath of fresh air.

Carter’s numbers in 2023 took a slight dip from his first-team All-ACC campaign in 2022, but the production was still worthy of second-team All-ACC in his junior year. He finished with 62 total tackles, 9.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, six pass breakups, and one interception.

With Jeremiah Trotter heading to the NFL, Carter will have a new face to pair within the front seven, with freshman Sammy Brown, who was featured earlier in our top ten (No. 9).

Carter ranks here because of his importance to this front seven. There’s an infusion of new talent, and he must be the consistent hand Wes Goodwin can rely upon.

As Carter said in his decision to return, he has unfinished business with Clemson. If the Tigers want to return to a contending status, Carter’s play will determine how far this defense can truly go.

David Hood

During one of Clemson baseball’s regional games a month or so ago, Carter was on the concourse waiting to purchase a shaved ice. Fans would walk by and tap him on the shoulder to wish him luck, little kids would look up in awe. But orbiting around Carter - like satellites around Earth - were a bevy of Clemson’s younger football players.

And as much as Carter will mean to this team on the field, it’s his off-the-field leadership, charisma, and experience that might pay the most dividends.

A young linebacker like Brown has had an entire spring, and now an entire summer, and will have an entire season to watch how Carter operates. Following Clemson’s loss to Duke in the opener last season, when many of Clemson’s defenders looked a step slow, Carter told anyone who would listen he needed to be in better shape.

"You can't replicate the speed of a game," Carter said. "I just need to get some extra running in and just make sure that my conditioning is where it needs to be just to play four quarters or however long the game will take. So, I realized that really early in the game. I need to be in better shape."

That leadership will go a long way this season.

Ten Most Important Tigers in 2024 Countdown

10) Center Ryan Linthicum

9) Linebacker Sammy Brown

8) Freshman WRs TJ Moore and Bryant Wesco

7) Cornerback Avieon Terrell

6) Wide receiver Antonio Williams

5) Defensive tackle DeMonte Capehart

4) Running back Phil Mafah

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