Biggest shoes to fill: Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers
The nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2008, Bowers didn’t reach his potential until last year when he led the nation and the ACC with 15.5 sacks. He also led the ACC and was second in the country with 26 tackles for loss. He had 20 quarterback pressures, two pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble and was second on the team with 74 tackles. Bowers likely would have been one of the top players chosen overall in the 2011 NFL draft if it weren’t for his knee injury. He was without question one of the best defensive players in the country and won the Bronko Nagurski and Hendricks awards, and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Spring replacement: Malliciah Goodman
Goodman had a good spring, but both Goodman and coach Dabo Swinney agree there is another level of Goodman’s game he has yet to reach. Goodman enters summer camp as the projected starter and has 63 tackles, eight TFLs, 13 quarterback pressures and three forced fumbles over 27 games with one start.
Summer outlook: The Tigers will likely have to lean on both Goodman and Andre Branch at the other end spot to help compensate for the loss of Bowers and help Clemson get after quarterbacks. Goodman will have to continue to progress and get another step closer this summer to reaching his potential in order to help that happen.
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