Football

Second year players that will be all-time greats

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The 2021 Clemson football roster will be the most talented in program history.

That is a phrase you will hear when people talk about the Clemson football roster for the foreseeable future. Every time we think this roster cannot get any better, the coaching staff signs the best class in program history and the future seems brighter than ever before.

While the 2021 class is loaded, the 2020 class featured a few players that have the ability to go down as the best players at their position in Clemson football history. That may seem like a lot of pressure to put on these four young men, but they certainly have the ability to live up to that statement.

The 2020 season saw three of these young men garner a lot of playing time on the defensive side of the ball and two of them garnered a few post-season awards. Of course, we are talking about defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, defensive end Myles Murphy and linebacker Trenton Simpson.

All three of these young men were five-star recruits in the 2020 class and all three of them lived up to the hype in 2020.

Don’t sleep on Trenton Simpson.

Simpson showed tremendous ability week to week and also rarely made the same mistake twice. If you have paid attention to the linebacker position under defensive coordinator Brent Venables, then you know just how difficult it is to play as a true freshman for him and Simpson was fantastic.

Coming into 2020, former Clemson football junior Mike Jones Jr. was the starter. Despite a couple of small injury issues, Jones logged nearly 80 more snaps than Trenton Simpson, who was his backup. However, Simpson was a far better playmaker on the defensive side of the ball and statically he was better across the board than Jones.

That was more than likely a big reason for Jones transferring to LSU for his final season or two of college football. With the emergence of Simpson and five-star linebacker Barrett Carter coming in, he knew his playing time would be severely limited.

Clemson football has a long history of spectacular players at defensive tackle, defensive end, and linebacker. Whether you are talking about the 1970s, 80s, 90s, 00s, or 2010s, the Tigers have never been short of talent at those three positions, yet, Bresee, Murphy, and Simpson will go down as the best at their particular positions when their careers come to an end in orange and purple.

The first Clemson Tiger OL to be selected in the NFL first round?

The fourth second-year player that will go down as the best player at his position in Clemson football history will be Walker Parks who saw 199 snaps his freshman season. He saw a season-high 48 snaps against Georgia Tech and 35 against Pittsburgh during the regular season.

While some may question this statement because he was unable to break into the starting lineup his freshman year, that should not be the reason to discount Parks.

The offensive line is one of the toughest places to play as a true freshman, especially when you have an all-conference performer ahead of you at left tackle, a third-year sophomore at right tackle, and a coach that has a hard time playing young guys up front.

What was clear by the end of the season, Parks was the nastiest offensive lineman on the Clemson football roster.

Currently, the two best offensive linemen in Tigers history are Mitch Hyatt and John Simpson.

When Parks’ career is over, he will be the greatest Clemson football offensive lineman and more than likely will be the first Clemson offensive lineman to ever be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Yes, he is going to be that good and has all the intangibles that it takes to be elite.

Only time will tell if these predictions come true, but given what we have seen from all four of these guys, I like my chances.

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