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The Tiger

Total Team Effort: Standing Out on a Talented Team

Kim Montuoro, Photo Editor

Marcus Edmond (29) and Cordrea Tankersley (25) celebrate after a play during a game in Death Valley. 

Cliché as it might sound; it took a total team effort for the Clemson Tigers to eke out a victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack on October 15.  A multitude of players contributed in major ways to what was in the end a crucial win, helping the Tigers stay undefeated with their impactful performances.

It was already well-documented that defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is remarkably talented, with his legendary 31-yard reception serving as a catalyst for the Tigers during their Orange Bowl triumph in January. However, Wilkins put on a football clinic against NC State, converting a first down on a fake punt for his first career rush and blocking a field goal. 

Though he may be undersized, senior cornerback Ryan Carter makes up for that shortcoming with his tenacity and high football IQ. Carter has been filling in admirably for the injured Adrian Baker through the first half of the regular season. 

Against the Pack, he deflected two passes and accrued a tackle for loss. Not to mention, he picked up his first career sack when facing off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets earlier this season.

Carter’s fellow cornerback Marcus Edmond has, needless to say, been very effective in the defensive backfield late in games recently. Collecting the game-winning tackle versus the Louisville Cardinals and the game-winning interception against NC State, which was the first pick of his career, Edmond has proven to be another invaluable cog in Clemson’s vaunted defense.

Senior tight end Jordan Leggett has been an important factor in the Tiger offense throughout his collegiate career, and thus far this year, he has been one of quarterback Deshaun Watson’s most reliable targets. Consistently hauling in impressive catches in tight coverage, Leggett has showcased his amazing hands all season long. A significant red zone threat, Leggett is a nuisance for opposing defenses and a major catalyst for the Clemson offense. His clutch play late in the Louisville game was a primary reason why the Tigers were able to come away with a victory.

With 65 total tackles, middle linebacker Kendall Joseph is the leading tackler for the Tigers so far this fall. Playing in his first season as a starter, Joseph has been really impressive. The sophomore field general covers an abundance of ground after the snap, allowing him to make his presence felt on an abundance of plays.

Combined with the superior play of Watson, wide receiver Mike Williams and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, all of whom are pre-season All-Americans, these impact players have combined to help lead Clemson to its 7-0 start. 

There is still plenty of football to be played, but if the Tigers maintain their plethora of skilled play throughout the roster, wins should continue to accumulate in Tiger Town.

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