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2017 Clemson Football Participation: Defensive End

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NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Alabama vs Clemson Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: Games started and games played are not always the best metrics to define experience. Sometimes players get 5 snaps in a game while others get 40. Because of this we review the snap counts of each player at the end of the season to see who has really gained experienced and how much experience Clemson will really be losing.

Y’all it is time for one of my favorite positions to look at snap counts, defensive end. Like wide receivers and defensive tackles, snap counts can be particularly useful at seeing just how much experience is being lost or returning for the following year. It also gives us a good idea of how players are coming along because the defensive line tends to see a real 2-deep.

DE Snap Count

Player Position Year Kent State Auburn Louisville Boston College Virginia Tech Wake Forest Syracuse Georgia Tech NC State Florida State Citadel South Carolina Miami Total
Player Position Year Kent State Auburn Louisville Boston College Virginia Tech Wake Forest Syracuse Georgia Tech NC State Florida State Citadel South Carolina Miami Total
Kaleb Bevelle DE Senior 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 10
Austin Bryant DE Junior 27 60 46 51 46 36 83 31 82 51 24 39 33 609
Clelin Ferrell DE RS Sophomore 26 67 56 54 54 48 81 25 84 51 27 39 35 647
Justin Foster DE Freshman 9 0 2 5 8 0 0 4 0 1 25 9 21 84
Xavier Kelly DE RS Freshman 10 0 6 6 15 9 0 0 0 1 22 0 7 76
Chris Register DE RS Junior 14 4 8 13 22 35 13 28 6 14 21 19 22 219
Nick Rowell DE RS Sophomore 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2
Logan Rudolph DE Freshman 12 0 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 26
Richard Yeargin DE RS Junior 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

But what’s interesting to see from the 2017 season is that Clemson did not really have much of a 2-deep at DE. Really with these snap counts it was pretty much the Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell show with a sprinkling of Chris Register. That’s unusual, and it is also why the starters played nearly 75% of all snaps in 2017. Compare that with the 2014 team where starters only played 58% of snaps. We talk a lot about talent and depth on the DL, especially at defensive end, but we haven’t quite put together the depth of talent like what we saw in 2014.

Now to be fair, Richard Yeargin’s injury really hurt depth at DE. If he’s available we likely see a bit more distribution of snaps since he’d probably get at least 200 or so. But we’ve also seen guys like Xavier Kelly not quite have the light come on. He’s still young so he has time, but with the talent coming in at this position for 2018 it may be hard for him to see the field.

We’ve also got guys like Justin Foster and Logan Rudolph who will be entering their second year in the program and have already drawn some favorable reviews. Frankly the potential at DE is going to be amazing in 2018, but from what we’ve seen the last few years it may be hard for everyone to turn that potential into actual production that the coaching staff trusts.