The 'Quiet Assassin' lurks in Apartment 1A at Clemson


by - Senior Writer -
Venables calls Trotter the Quiet Assassin.
Venables calls Trotter the Quiet Assassin.

CLEMSON – The Quiet Assassin lurks on the Clemson campus, sharing an apartment with a Texan -- biding his time.

Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. entered Clemson rated as the No. 7 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com, including ranks as the nation’s No. 1 linebacker and the top player in Pennsylvania. Trotter was ranked No. 30 by 247Sports, including being listed as the country’s top inside linebacker and the second-best player in Pennsylvania, while he was ranked No. 106 by Rivals.com.

Trotter was Clemson’s highest-rated player in the 2021 class by ESPN.com and its second-highest by 247Sports, and he made a big splash this spring, earning praise from his fellow players, defensive coordinator Brent Venables, and head coach Dabo Swinney.

Venables has a nickname already picked out for Trotter.

“When you think about Jeremiah, I just think about throwback,” Venables said. “What a great football player he is. The game is very natural to him. His movement is natural. His instincts for football are special. Closes really fast. Very explosive contact hitter. Great change of direction, can play in space.

“The quiet assassin is what I’ve called him.”

Venables said that Trotter has everything you’re looking for in a linebacker.

“He's got the right stuff, you know, to him, all the intangibles," Venables said. "But he's also gifted from an instinctual standpoint of blitzing, a physicality standpoint. He's showing instincts, physical toughness, doing good fundamentals and technique really has been sharp. Mentally, he's just been very diligent, but great teammate, is willing to be led. But he's about his business and he's had a good spring."

Trotter had a good spring but also had his freshman moments when the speed of the game and the install of the defense took their toll.

"He's had a great semester academically and the same, you know, on the field in the classroom," Venables said. "Football classroom has been excellent. Just can really see maturity and wisdom that's beyond his years and that takes a focus. And again it takes the maturity to kind of prioritize. You know, prioritizing is one of the hardest things to do and he's been able to do it his first semester.

“He's had a really good spring and he's had some moments where he hit the wall. And there's some tough days, you know his (practice) grades overall, nothing to write home about, but his production, it's been really good so when he gets some things cleaned up, as he continues to get his opportunities, I think he's got a great future.”

The coaching staff wants Trotter to gain weight, but they want it to be good weight.

“He’s not real big yet, and so that'll be a focal point, going into the summer, about not putting too much weight on too soon," Venables said. "There's always that fine line, you want to carry it well. Think he might be close to 220, maybe 218 or so, and maybe getting closer to 225 to 228 by the end of the summer would be a realistic goal."

Trotter shares an apartment with another freshman who has drawn rave reviews this spring – safety Andrew Mukuba.

“Whatever they got over in Apartment 1A or whatever it is over there, they have the right stuff in that apartment,” Venables said.

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