TigerNet Top-5: Ferrell makes mark as 3-year starter, nation's top DE


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Clelin Ferrell was an impact player on a talented D-line.
Clelin Ferrell was an impact player on a talented D-line.

Clelin Ferrell is a part of an elite fraternity at Clemson defensively to earn multiple first-team All-America honors -- also starting each one of his 44 games as a Tiger over three seasons.

Ferrell is one in a number of top Clemson D-ends past the turn of the century. In the TigerNet Top-5 of the ACC era so far, Shaq Lawson occupied the No. 5 spot, Gaines Adams and Da’Quan Bowers next from the previous two decades and a Lawson teammate in Vic Beasley at No. 2.

Before we get to the top spot, here’s a look at a couple of the guys who were right in the neighborhood of a top-5 position:

Austin Bryant (2015-18): First-team All-America in 2017, single-game sack record (4, 2017 vs. Auburn), two-time All-ACC, fourth-round NFL draft pick (Lions).

Andre Branch (2008-11): Second-team All-America in 2011, single-game sack record (4, 2011 vs. VT), single-game TFL record (6, 2011 v. VT), first-team All-ACC in 2011, second-round NFL draft pick (Jaguars).

Ferrell takes the top spot in the countdown, however:

TigerNet Top-5: DE

Played: 2016-18

Notable career stats: 50 TFLs, 27 sacks, 166 tackles, 51 QB pressures in 44 games (44 starts).

Why he’s here: Coming off of a redshirt after a torn ACL in high school, Ferrell took hold of a starting role early and increasingly became an impact player for the Tigers en route to two national titles.

Ferrell notched both the Hendricks Award, for the nation’s top defensive end, and the ACC’s defensive player of the year mark as a redshirt junior. The Richmond, Virginia native posted 19.5 tackles for loss (No. 1 in ACC/No. 9 in NCAA) and 11.5 sacks (No. 1 in ACC/No. 6 in NCAA) with 15 QB pressures in the campaign.

His 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in 2017 ranked second in the conference.

Ferrell’s 44 starts are the most for any Clemson defensive end all-time. His 27 sacks are tied for fourth-best with William Perry career-wise and third-best among D-ends.

He tied the mark for the highest-drafted Tiger in 2018 with a No. 4 selection by the Raiders.

TigerNet Top-5: DE

Our formula weighs a number of factors, including national awards, All-America and conference honors as well as school single-game, single-season and career records. An impact rating on that team success and the intangibles involved are also judged in that mix. And wrapping up the college aspect, we take how NFL scouts judged them with their draft position.

5. Shaq Lawson

4. Gaines Adams

3. Da’Quan Bowers

2. Vic Beasley

1. Clelin Ferrell

(Stats compiled and written by Brandon Rink)

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