Clemson is losing a ton of experience at linebacker.
With James Skalski and Baylon Spector both now gone, the Tigers must replace eleven years worth of experience between the two. However, that doesn’t mean the team can’t or won’t be better at the position in 2022.
Sure, that kind of experience is invaluable, but with Trenton Simpson making the move inside to WILL and Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter Jr both now having a season under their belts, this team has a chance to be as fast and athletic at linebacker as its ever been under Dabo Swinney.
With Simpson moving inside, Carter takes over at SAM. The former 5-star talent is the prototypical SAM backer, and his versatility, physicality and speed should be a perfect fit for the Clemson defense.
“Barrett’s a guy that’s a tremendous young man off the field and on the field,” new defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin said. “And he’s got a world of talent, can play all three positions with ease. He can play in the box. He can play on the edge. He can play safety if we needed him to. He’s a special talent and just has an unbelievable knowledge of the game.”
Goodwin noted that Carter has been doing a lot of cross-training, which should prove to be very beneficial, and sooner, rather than later.
“We’ve been putting a lot on him from a schematic standpoint of knowing all three and four positions and just he comes out with the right mindset every day and wants to dominate the day and get better. And he’s had a tremendous spring as well.”
As for Trotter, he’s currently locked in a battle with LaVonta Bentley and Keith Maguire, with all three looking to lock down that spot in the middle. At some point, that guy will be Trotter. Whether he starts the season as the starter or a reserve, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.
“He’s got a world of talent as well,” Goodwin said. “He plays fast, plays physical. He’s really, really smart beyond his years. Great leader, great personality, blue-collar attitude. Shoot, he’s been a MIKE backer since he was two years old, or one year old, so he understands what the MIKE and WILL linebacker spots mean, and he’s going to be fun to watch for sure.”
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