2022 Clemson Football Season Review: Linebackers


Heading into the season, the centre-back was considered one of the strengths of Wes Goodwin’s defence. Led by the trio of Trenton Simpson, Barrett Carter, and Jeremiah Trotter, Jr., many predicted that this group would be among the best in the ACC. Prior to the season, some predicted that this group, combined with the defensive front, would form the best front 7 in Clemson history. To say expectations were high would be an understatement.


Jeremiah Trotter Jr: 89 tackles (49 solo, 40 assists, team led), 6.5 sacks, 5 passes defensed, 2 INT, 1 TD, 1 FF

Honors: Second Team All-America honors from the Associated Press, Third Team All-America honors, Second Team All-ACC honors from Pro Football Focus, Second Team selection by College Football Network and Phil Steele.

Barrett Carter: 73 tackles (41 solo, 32 assists), 5.5 sacks, 8 passes defensed, 2 INT, 2 FF

Honors: Fourth Team All-America honors from Phil Steele, First Team All-ACC honors from Phil Steele, Pro Football Focus

Trenton Simpson: 73 tackles (41 solo, 32 assists), 2.5 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 1 INT, 1 French

Honors: Butkus Award Semifinalist, Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist, Third Team All-ACC selection, Third Team, ACC Phil Steele Award

Keith Maguire39 tackles (18 solo, 21 assists)

Wade and Dazz: 20 tackles (9 solo, 11 assists), 1.5 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 1 FF

Lafonta Bentley: 20 pcs of competitors (12 singles, 8 assists), 1 sachet

TJ Dudley: 1 tackle (0 solo, 1 assist)

Sergio Allen: 1 tackle (1 solo, 0 assist)

Matthew Maloney: 1 tackle (1 solo, 0 assist)

The first three of Simpson, Carter and Trotter were expected to produce and produce. All three earned national accolades from several sources, led by Jeremiah Trotter, who led Clemson in tackles with an impressive 89 on the season. Throughout the season, I found myself deeply admiring Trotter: He came in with a lower esteem than Simpson and Carter, but proved to be arguably the best defensive player on the field. His six-selection against South Carolina should have been a memorable game had the Tigers continued that game. Although I pay tribute to Trotter, that doesn’t take away any praise from Trenton Simpson and Barrett Carter.

Showcasing his athleticism and coverage skills, Carter recorded a room linebacker-high 8 passes defensed and 2 interceptions. Not to mention 5.5 sacks, Carter has been a threat on several offenses all season. Finally, in Trenton Simpson’s final year at Clemson, the youngster went into another exciting season, garnering national attention in the form of a Butkus Award semi-final finish. I think Simpson will be picked in the first roundand this simply coming from someone who watched both players play, reminds me a great deal of Isaiah Simmons.

I look forward

Of the linebackers listed with tackles according to ESPN, four will not be with the team next year. These four are Trenton Simpson (NFL Draft), Keith Maguire (retired), LaFonta Bentley (Colorado), and Sergio Allen (California). Losing Trenton Simpson would obviously be huge for Clemson’s defense, and figuring out who runs in his place will be one of the many burning questions the coaching staff will need to resolve at spring ball. One incumbent who I think will have the upper hand is Wade and Daz.

A late recruit, Wadaz came in at the end of the year, playing meaningful snaps in the ACC Championship Game and the Orange Bowl, as well as against Syracuse, Louisville, and South Carolina. If he can build on his performance, the cut-off for Simpson can be reduced, which would be massive for the defense.

Another concern that could drive more playing time is TJ Dudley. A senior recruit from Alabama who only played in two games (Lousiana Tech and UNC), he will be a starter at the start of the season. If he can get a few shots with the first team in spring ball, he has the potential to make an impact, whether that be as a starting piece or a rotational piece.

Jamal Anderson (Mill Creek High School, Hocheston, GA) – 4 stars, Natl. 216, loc. 19, St. 18

de Creighton (Danish High School, Alpharetta, GA) – 4 stars, NATL. 416, Pos. 34, 44th Street

Leave a Comment