ESPN ranks Clemson #2 in Defensive Power Rankings
Clemson will be loaded again on the defensive line with some of the top talents in college football this upcoming season with Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, Richard Yeargin, Albert Huggins, and others. ESPN released their latest article recently with their top future defense power rankings and Clemson was ranked No. 2 in the country behind only Alabama.
"It's easy to forget when watching Clemson's electric offense, but the Tigers have been and will continue to be propelled by an elite defense," ESPN.com said. "Clemson nearly claimed the top spot because it has a defensive line set up better than anyone else in the country. Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are generational-type talents, and Clemson will have Wilkins for at least another year and Lawrence for two or three more. The buzz is building for end Clelin Ferrell, who broke out during last season's College Football Playoff and could end up being Clemson's most explosive pass-rusher. He has three years of eligibility remaining. Other players with multiple years of eligibility include Austin Bryant, Richard Yeargin and Albert Huggins. Clemson also recently has landed top recruits, including Xavier Kelly and Sterling Johnson. "The defensive line, it's pretty special," an ACC head coach said. "They seem to be bringing in guys at a pretty good rate." As an offensive coordinator who faced the Tigers added: "Really good up front. It's what's helped them, it's what helped Alabama." Opposing coaches aren't as high on Clemson's secondary, which loses standout cornerback Cordrea Tankersley. But those inside the program expect the group to reload and new starts to emerge, such as Trayvon Mullen, who one source called "the next big star."
The Top 10 in the defensive power rankings were Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Washington, USC, Michigan, and Florida.
Clemson's in-state rival South Carolina was a surprising #24 in the rankings.