Baylon Spector joined Clemson in the class of 2017 from Calhoun, Georgia. He was three-star safety prospect with power-five offers from Wake Forest and Duke. He was far from Clemson’s headliner in a class that included WR Tee Higgins, 5-star QB Hunter Johnson, CB AJ Terrell, and RB Travis Eteinne.
Spector came from a Clemson family. His dad, Robbie Spector, was a wide receiver for the Tigers. His sister was a cheerleader, and his brother, Brannon, is a wide receiver on the team now. Baylon redshirted his first year and began learning the intricacies of the linebacker position after playing various positions (including linebacker) in high school.
In 2018, he tallied 8 tackles in 62 snaps as a redshirt freshman while the Tigers went a perfect 15-0 to earn their third National Championship in program history.
The next season, his playing time ramped up and he recorded 45 tackles across 284 snaps. Clemson’s starting linebackers were Isiah Simmons, James Sklaski, and Chad Smith. It was a strong unit that helped Clemson overcome the losses of their top five defensive lineman and reach the National Championship game before falling to Joe Burrow’s LSU Tigers. Spector was the second-string linebacker behind Chad Smith.
After that season, Chad Smith departed, opening up the starting weakside (WILL) linebacker role for 2020. Spector seized it and had a career year as a redshirt junior. He started all season (which was just 12 games due to COVID scheduling) and had team-highs in tackles (72), tackles for loss (10.5), and sacks (4.5). He earned second-team All-ACC honors (AP) for his play on the field and was an All-ACC Academic Team selection for his work in the classroom.
Spector returned for his redshirt senior season in 2021 and while he didn’t push past those career marks he set in 2020, he had another strong season as the starting WILL linebacker. Injuries limited him to 11 games, but he ranked second on the team (behind Skalski) with 85 tackles and had 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was voted to be a team captain and while he didn’t earn All-ACC honors again, he repeated his All-ACC Academic Team selection. He also added this memorable interception against Georgia in the season opener:
As Baylon Spector leaves Clemson, he departs with a legacy that serves to remind future Tigers that being patient and putting in the work can pay big dividends. Spector came to his dream school as a mostly unheralded prospect and didn’t become a starter until his fourth season, but once he did he earned All-ACC honors and became a team captain. We thank Spector for all he did on the field as well as being a good representative for the program off it. Farewell Baylon Spector!