Anthony determined to be "the guy" on Clemson's defense

by - Staff Writer -
Stephone Anthony closes in for a sack at FSU earlier this season.
Stephone Anthony closes in for a sack at FSU earlier this season.

CLEMSON – When you think of playmakers on Clemson’s defense Vic Beasley Vic Beasley
RS Sr. Defensive End
#3 6-2, 236
Adairsville, GA

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, Grady Jarrett Grady Jarrett
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
Conyers, GA

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and MacKensie Alexander MacKensie Alexander
RS Fr. Cornerback
#2 5-11, 190
Immokalee, FL

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usually come to mind, but the one who comes across to the media and the fans as the most quiet and reserved player is the one who is determined to be “the guy.”

Middle linebacker Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Sr. Linebacker
#42 6-2, 244
Polkton, NC

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has played the second-most snaps (445) but is quietly having a monster year with 58 tackles – the most on Clemson’s defense. Add in his 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two caused fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception and the numbers look even better.

The Polkton (NC) native has been leading his teammates with his play on the field, but he is trying to beyond that and prove to the players around him that he can be the guy that they should turn to when the team needs that fourth down stop to win the game or that key turnover to give the offense a chance at victory.

His teammates on defense are taking notice of the example he’s setting and when Louisville had the ball on fourth and goal with time running out it was Anthony saying that they would get the stop.

“I want to be the guy with the energy,” Anthony told TigerNet after Clemson’s 16-6 win over Syracuse last Saturday. “I want to be the guy that everybody can feed off of. I want people to see me and my guys to see me, see my energy and just feed off of it. When it's time for us to step up and make a big play, I just have to remind our guys of that and we're going to get a stop.”

Some Clemson fans may hate the low-scoring, defensive battles that the Tigers have endured over the last three weeks but for Anthony, he’s never enjoyed playing football more.

“We enjoy playing the game. We enjoy playing and love to have the chance to go out there and play,” Anthony said. “I haven't more fun since I've been here than these past few games playing in these lower scoring games. I'm just going out there with my brothers and accomplishing a goal. It's awesome.”

The grind it out wins and the hard-nosed, physical games give Anthony and the Tiger defenders a chance to really show what they’re capable of.

“It's definitely an opportunity to show that we can play some defense,” Anthony said. “We are enjoying it when it gets down to the closing minutes. We just fight. We put drives together back to back and get stops.”

Clemson’s defense is ranked second in the country in total defense, first in tackles for loss, third in sacks and first in third down defense, but Anthony said that they don’t pay any attention to the numbers or stats because, at the end of the day none of it matters until the last snap of the 2014 season.

“If you asked us that, we probably wouldn't know,” he said. “We live week to week. We're trying to get the attention to detail from everybody and we're just trying play well. We want to be great. It doesn't mean anything until the end of November.”

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