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2016 Clemson Football Defensive End Participation

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NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As is tradition at STS, we are once again taking a look at the participation numbers for each player at Clemson during the 2016 season. While number of games played is a nice top level number, looking at snap counts provides a much better idea of how much experience a player is getting. It is also a good way of determining if a player should have redshirted or not. Ideally, a player should get at least 100 snaps in a season as a freshman, otherwise a redshirt would have been a better idea barring issues with depth. Also note that all snap counts are through the Ohio State game; totals for the Alabama game have not been published by Clemson.

The defensive line is always one of the more interesting snap charts to look at. To truly compete the best DLs have a strong 2 deep where everyone contributes significantly. The past 2 seasons we’ve seen that at Clemson and it is a big reason that the defense has been so spectacular.

DE Snaps

Player Position Year Auburn Troy SC State Georgia Tech Louisville Boston College NC State FSU Syracuse Pittsburgh Wake Forest South Carolina Virginia Tech Ohio State Totals
Player Position Year Auburn Troy SC State Georgia Tech Louisville Boston College NC State FSU Syracuse Pittsburgh Wake Forest South Carolina Virginia Tech Ohio State Totals
Clelin Ferrell DE R Freshman 60 50 12 45 84 53 64 61 35 73 37 37 69 43 723
Christian Wilkins DT Sophomore 59 63 12 43 79 50 54 50 35 50 39 28 52 40 654
Austin Bryant DE Sophomore 0 0 0 0 0 0 27 27 21 29 25 31 23 22 205
Richard Yeargin DE R Sophomore 19 29 25 9 22 18 3 2 34 0 17 0 0 5 183
Chris Register DE R Sophomore 6 16 32 15 17 17 6 0 13 0 6 13 0 1 142
Jaquarius Brice DE Senior 0 0 19 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 7 0 0 27

The snaps this year see a majority of DE snaps taken by Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. Though concerning to not see them spread among 4 players, the 2015 breakdown of snaps is eerily similar to this. The two starters had 600 plus snaps and the backups were in the high 100s and 200s. And Clemson has the benefit of returning all 4 true DEs with real experience.

This year an early injury to Austin Bryant coupled with some depth questions led to DT Christian Wilkins moving to the outside. We’ve counted him under the DE snaps since that is where he played, but in 2017 the plan is for him to move back inside. While that means those snaps have to be replaced, it is preferable to losing someone to graduation.

Less than half of the sophomore snaps below come from Wilkins. This means Clemson has to replace something like 30%-35% of the snaps on the DE, a lot less than we’ve seen over the past 2 seasons when Clemson has lost almost 75% of snaps at each position on the DL.

This leaves Clemson with a young but experienced group at DE. Xavier Kelly and LaSamuel Davis are coming off of a redshirt as well and will be in the mix. Though there may not be a name like Wilkins or Lawrence at DE, there should be plenty of talent to wreck havoc on opposing offenses.