Boulware on pace to outperform Anthony's senior season
|2015-10-23 09:51:28.0- -||
Clemson junior linebacker Ben Boulware has helped lead Clemson's defense to a perfect 6-0 record heading into this weekend's road matchup against the Miami Hurricanes.
All football offseason, national media-pundits, and fans alike wondered if Clemson's defense would be able to replace the likes of NFL defenders Vic Beasley, Stephone Anthony, Grady Jarett and others.
Pro Football Focus dove into several football data metrics and Boulware has outperformed Anthony in several key factors through the half point of their respective seasons (Anthony's senior season and Boulware's junior season) with the Tigers.
"Largely a backup player in 2014, junior linebacker Ben Boulware finally earned a starting role this year for the Clemson Tigers. Boulware had to bide his time behind a standout linebacker in Stephone Anthony, who would eventually go on to be drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints," PFF stated. "Boulware has taken advantage of every additional snap as a full-time starter, playing his way to a PFF overall grade of +17.6 (third-best among 4-3 outside linebackers), compared to Anthony’s +8.1 rating at this point last year. Though Anthony had a stellar season of his own in 2014, Boulware has outperformed him in several key statistical categories."
Boulware has been tough against the run and has had several key quarterback pressures this season.
"The greatest difference between the two players can be seen in their run defense, where Boulware’s +11.1 run grade and 10.3 run stop percentage far surpass Anthony’s +2.3 and 3.6 percent ratings, respectively," PFF said. "Lastly, despite his lack of sacks so far this year, Boulware has been far more productive as a pass rusher, collecting 10 total pressures versus only two for Anthony. Clemson may have lost a star linebacker to the draft last year, but it seems they’ve found another in Boulware."
Boulware has 37 tackles, ten quarterback pressures, four pass deflections and an interception on the season.
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