Last week, Clemson lost defensive tackles coach Todd Bates. The news seems to come as a surprise given Clemson Analyst Ted Roof had already joined Coach Venables in Oklahoma as the defensive coordinator. Additionally, Coach Swinney had publicly sung the praises of Coach Bates after promoting him to Assistant Head Coach, calling him “special” and saying he has a “gift” and is a future head coach. Bates was set to receive a $200,000 raise with that promotion. Instead, he will join Oklahoma as a Co-DC with Ted Roof. It’s unclear what that role will entail given Coach Venables’ expertise on that side of the ball. The Post and Courier report that Bates will owe Clemson 25% of the value of the new contract.
Todd Bates appears excited to be at Oklahoma and we wish him well.
#OUtstanding #Uncommon #OUDNA pic.twitter.com/hV8bUjbbwV— Todd Bates (@CoachToddBates) January 5, 2022
Speed was of the essence in finding a new defensive tackles coach as National Signing Day is looming on February 2nd. The Tigers don’t have a defensive line recruit in the 2022 class. While Clemson looks to have an outstanding starting four with Myles Murphy and KJ Henry at DE and Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee at DT, they’ll all likely depart after 2022. That makes recruiting especially imperative for the defensive line.
Nick Eason’s name was floated almost immediately after news of Todd Bates' departure broke. This time it appears Dabo will opt for the splashy external hire that Clemson fans were hoping to see. It is being reported that Nick Eason, the Defensive Line Coach at Auburn, is headed to Clemson. The reaction across the board at Clemson is overwhelmingly positive:
Can't really argue that Bates deciding to leave for Oklahoma doesn't leave a sour taste -- or at least a taste that Clemson fans aren't used to. Nick Eason would be a home run replacement... 10 playing years in the NFL, NFL coaching experience, former Clemson Tiger.— Anna Hickey (@AnnaH247) January 5, 2022
Clemson grad. Clemson man.— NoRiskItNoBiscuit (@QuackingTiger) January 5, 2022
4th Rd Draft pick. 11 seasons in the NFL. Super Bowl champ. NFL coach for 7 seasons. Pulled away from the Harsin Auburn trainwreck after a season of cfb under his belt.
Nick Eason as the DT coach at Clemson is an upgrade.
I remember riding the CAT bus on campus as a student in the early 2000s and it would be packed….but if Nick Eason was on it, it was a show every time. Biggest smile, nicest guy and a giant personality. Welcome home, Coach!! @CoachEason1 #ClemsonFamily— J (@clemsontgr18) January 5, 2022
As a player, Nick Eason was a defensive tackle and two-time team captain for Clemson. He played in 47 games and tallied 15 sacks and 30 TFLs en route to becoming a First-Team All-ACC selection as a senior. He was a fourth-round pick in the NFL draft and went on to have a 10-year NFL career where he had over 100 tackles.
After his playing career ended in 2012, he immediately got into coaching as an assistant defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, where he had been a player earlier in his career. He spent a year there and then two at Tennessee as the Assistant Defensive Line Coach before being promoted to Defensive Line Coach. He served in that role for two years and then the same role with the Cincinnati Bengals for two before coming to the college ranks to be Auburn’s defensive line coach.
He will now coach defensive tackles at Clemson and pair with Clemson Defensive Ends Coach Lemanski Hall to help lead the defensive line. What do you think about the hire and the future of Clemson’s D-line play? Let us know in the comments below.