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Clemson’s 2022 defense can be ‘as good as they want to be’

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

The Orange team’s defense stuffs the line of scrimmage during Clemson’s spring game in Memorial Stadium on April 9, 2022.

The Clemson defensive line was concentrated, confident and determined on the field for the Tigers’ annual Orange and White spring game on Saturday. With young talent and veteran players on the defensive line, the entire unit shined. 

The defensive line was led by veteran defensive ends K.J. Henry and Xavier Thomas, who provided a sense of leadership for the defense on Saturday. Another pillar of Clemson’s defensive line was Myles Murphy, who led the team in sacks last season. 

“It’s all about building depth right now,” Henry said after the game. “Coach Swinney hit on it in the locker room. The talent is above and beyond on this team this year, and we really believe that.” 

The top pass rusher on Saturday was Henry, who finished the game with 3.5 sacks and six tackles. Murphy recorded six tackles and three sacks, while Thomas added four tackles. 

“There’s something on defense that’s really just clicking,” Murphy said. “I know last year we had a great season defensively and this spring, something is just clicking as far as the d-line.”  

The defensive line for Clemson acts as an important component for the overall morale and unity of the team. With a surplus of talent and leadership, the depth of the defensive unit for the Tigers is a threat for any team they face.  

“We’re going to be really good, as good as they want to be,” head coach Dabo Swinney said about his defense. “We have the type of depth that gives you a little bit of room for error, but I think we have a chance to do a special feat in the defensive line.” 

The experience of the defensive line, led by new defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin, gives the Tigers a solidified foundation as they head into the summer. Players across the defensive unit have emphasized the importance of developing the depth of the defense and maintaining Clemson’s dominance in the 2022 season. 

“We got potential, but it doesn’t mean anything until we really put it out there,” Henry said. “So really, the next step for us is to have a great summer and developing like I said. Getting us healthy, getting us stronger, getting us faster, and really honing in our craft to be a great d-line next year.”  

As the Clemson defense looks ahead to summer practice, there will be an important emphasis on maintaining their health and focusing on honing in on their skills to be able to build off their dominant 2021 season in the fall. 

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