War Daddy: Muse excited about chance to join former teammates with Raiders


by - Senior Writer -
Muse will join several Clemson teammates in Las Vegas.
Muse will join several Clemson teammates in Las Vegas.

Tanner Muse answered his phone late Friday night and heard Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden on the other end. Gruden told Muse he needs bigger shoulder pads and needs to be ready to play linebacker.

Muse was picked with the 100th overall selection in the third round by Las Vegas.

“I see myself being a full-bore special teamer. Just a special teams war daddy,” Muse said. “I see myself getting into some linebacker packages and doing whatever I can as a linebacker and special teamer.”

Muse said contact with the Raiders was limited to a Zoom call last week.

“I didn’t talk to them much at the (NFL Scouting) Combine. I did a Zoom call with them about a week ago,” he said. “I had a good conversation with Coach Gruden and Mr. (GM Mike) Mayock and we just talked ball. I felt really good about it and I think it helped me in this process. That video chat went really well.”

Mayock said Muse aced the Zoom call.

"Tanner Muse knocked his Zoom meeting out of the park," Mayock said after the draft on Friday. "Muse played safety and we questioned him for an hour on linebacker fits and he knew every one. ... We think he's one of the smartest and most intuitive players in the draft and we expect him to learn both positions in addition to playing special teams."

Muse finished his Clemson career credited with 237 career tackles (10.5 for loss), 15 passes broken up, 4.0 sacks, seven interceptions for 102 yards (including a 64-yard return for a touchdown), a forced fumble and a 63-yard fumble return for a touchdown in 1,921 snaps over 59 career games (39 starts). At the conclusion of his Clemson tenure, his 59 career games played ranked tied for the most in school history with Christian Wilkins, Cannon Smith and K'Von Wallace.

"Last year he impressed me because he played all over the field," Mayock said. "He was not just a safety, a strong safety — he played some linebacker. He came off the edge — he covered the man. He blew a lot of people away when at 227 pounds he ran 4.39. The rub for him day one is to be a core special teams player. While he's getting 20, 25 snaps a game at special teams he's got to learn how to learn MIKE and WILL linebacker. He's predominately a safety but he's going to be a linebacker for us."

One moment during Muse's career, in particular, stood out to Mayock.

"I said, 'You know I watched you stick your foot in the ground against Texas A&M early in the season and chase down a screen from 30 yards behind'. I said, 'At that point at least you played like a Raider'. He started laughing and loved the fact that we remembered that play,” Mayock said.

During the call, Gruden told Muse, “We want to keep this Clemson Tiger pipeline hot.”

The Raiders selected Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen, and Hunter Renfrow in last year’s draft and selected Muse on Friday and then offensive guard John Simpson Saturday in this year’s draft.

“I’ve talked to the guys. Clelin Ferrell is one of my best friends,” Muse said. “And I’ve been training with Hunter Renfrow. It’s been good. I’ve always been connected in some shape or form. I always tried to keep up with them (last season) and check their record and see how they were doing. Me and Cle have always stayed in touch. We are basically best friends. We came in together and we ground it out. He left a little earlier than me but we ended up at the same destination. I am super blessed to get back with those guys. Trayvon is one of my brothers as well, we’ve been on the same side playing at Clemson so I am looking forward to seeing them again.”

Muse said he had a feeling he would move to linebacker at the NFL level.

“We always knew at Clemson that the potential was going to be there but we just couldn’t build enough depth at safety,” Muse said. “It forced me to stay at that position until we could gain some depth with the young guys. At the end of the season, I could walk down and play linebacker, and teams have told Coach (Dabo) Swinney they wanted to see me there. So I’ve been training.”

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